The prosecution of the ecologist Valery Brinikh for “extremism” collapsed yesterday in the city court at Maykop in the Adygea in southern Russia.
The case was brought against Brinikh in 2014, for exposing bad waste disposal practices at a pig farm founded by Vyacheslav Derev, a member of the Federation Council (the upper house of the Russian parliament).
Brinikh is a biologist, and had worked as a director of the Daur Nature Reserve (1993-99) and
the Caucasus Nature Reserve (1999-2001). In 2012 he started campaigning, with local residents, against the stench and pollution caused by the Kievo-Zhuraki agro-industrial complex in the Teuchezhsk district of Adygea.
The state prosecutor claimed that an article Brinikh wrote in 2014 in a local newspaper, “The Silence of the Lambs”, insulted the dignity of the Adygean people. (Adygea is a Republic, an enclave in the Krasnodar region in the north Caucasus.) Three years of legal persecution followed.
Brinikh was supported by the Agora International Human Rights Group: they argued that the prosecution was an assault on freedom of speech and the freedom of expression.