Good News- Russia: Sacred Sites are Protected by Local Executive Power
Cultural Survival release, 3 July 2012

ALTAI REPUBLIC, RUSSIA: On 20 June 2012, the regional government of the Altai Republic in Russia reviewed and passed a decree on the “Preservation and Development of Sacred Sites of the Altai Republic.” The decree imposes restrictions on various kinds of activities at sacred sites, including any activity resulting in resulting in damage to the top soil leading to geological exposure causing irreversible changes to the hydrological regime and any activities resulting in the destruction of the natural habitats of plant and animal species. Essentially, through this decree, the governor of the Altai Republic is instructing local authorities to make laws to protect these sacred sites which are being threatened by the construction of a gas pipeline by Russia’s natural gas company Gazprom. The term “sacred sites” is defined to include natural elements as places of worship, including mountains, passes, rivers lakes, trees, springs, sanctuaries, as well as places of religious ceremonies, historical events, and ancestral lands. The decree also extends to protect cultural objects: ceremonial structures, monuments such as petroglyphs, burial mounds, and rock statues, since all of these are elements of local traditions, customs, and ceremonies the local populations of Altai inherited from their ancestors. Read the release …