The combined road Adler-Krasnaya Polyana (railroad and highway) is one of the most environmentally damaging Olympic projects. In addition to that, it is the most expensive one, taking into account that Sochi 2014 are famous for being the most expensive Olympics in the history of the Games. The project is also one of the biggest Olympic projects in preparation to the Sochi Games. The greatest number of environmental crimes (criminally punishable acts) took place in relation to the road Adler-Krasnaya Polyana construction.
The road was built in serious violation of Russian administrative, environmental, human rights and criminal legislation. For a period of about a year, the construction works were conducted illegally, i.e. without required state permits and environmental impact assessment and even without project documentation. Construction without permit was accompanied by cutting species and destruction of the habitat of the species included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation (endangered and/or threatened species). Dozens of thousands of Pterocarya pterocarpa and Buxus colchica, which are protected on the territory of the Russian Federation, were cut. Such activities constitute violation of the Russian Criminal Code, in particular, its Articles 259 and 260 (259: Destruction of critical habitat of species enlisted in the Red Book of the Russian Federation; 260: Illegal felling the forest).
The area, where the road is constructed, includes natural areas of high environmental value; and this was even admitted by the construction company and the Sochi National Park. Some of the areas of the road construction are pristine forests of Buxus colchica which are the habitat of other endangered and/or threatened species. The landscapes are truly marvelous. At the place of cut trees, huge area of filth appeared, the cut areas were covered by old car tires, rusty pipes and other wastes, such as tree rootes. This waste fell into the river Mzimta right away, without any treatment or protection against erosion.
The road Adler-Krasnaya Polyana had damaged not only the endangered species and/or their critical habitat, but negatively impacted the river Mzimta which is the main drinking water source for Sochi. It is also the priority river for a fishing industry. Unfortunately, its ecosystem is seriously damaged by the preparation to Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Massive gravel taking, constructions on the water meadows, constructions of cost-protective structures along dozens of kilometers, construction of temporary roads for the road Adler-Krasnaya Polyana, which were built right in the river, had already caused irreparable damage to the Mzimta ecosystem. As a result, this will lead to degradation of the drinking water source, to floods and will damage biodiversity of the river.
The road Adler-Krasnaya Polyana as a project is not prudent at all from different perspectives. Here are some of the arguments raised by environmentalists:
- The road is being built on the unique pristine areas of the Western Caucasus. This will cause degradation and destruction of its valuable natural system.
- The chosen area for the road construction does not allow to build the road in a way that will not damage the river Mzimta ecosystem;
- The construction is too expensive.
Next week read about civil activism around the road Adler-Krasnaya Polyana and how the government, business and Olympic entities, including the IOC, approached the situation with the most scandalous Olympic project in preparation to Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.