TV News in Russia – The Environment – August, 2017

How the News is Reported in Russia
Special Edition: Environmental Issues
August, 2017

Internship in RussiaIssues concerning climate change, pollution, land use, and nature are often featured in Russian news broadcasts. Below is a collection of stories on these issues that aired on Russia’s Sunday news broadcasts over the month of August. Note that all these stories come from Russia’s “week in review” Sunday broadcast programs. The flooding in Houston is thus not featured in this month’s broadcasts, but does make these stories especially topical.

According to a 2016 poll by the independent Levada Center, 80% of Russians view television as their primary source of news. The same Levada poll, however, shows that only 41% trust the news as an objective source of information. The broadcasts sampled here are from Russia’s most-watched channels: First Channel and Russia Channel.

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Meteorologists: Extreme Heat in Summer of 2016 Explains Numerous Weather Abnormalities for 2017 – Heat, Heavy Rains, and Storms

First Channel quotes meteorologists as saying that the abnormal weather of summer in 2017 resulted from the extreme heat of the summer of 2016, which released too much vapor into the atmosphere. This summer, dozens of Russian regions experienced storms, floods, and record heat. The air temperature in summer will continue growing everywhere on the globe, while the temperature in Russia will be increasing twice as fast as it is globally with every coming year.


After Abnormal Heat, Series of Storms Hit European Countries

First Channel reports that the storms that hit Europe killed two girls in Poland who were crushed by a falling tree while camping in a forest, while 37 more children were injured. Three people were killed in other regions of Poland. The storms caused power outages for tens of thousands of households.


State to Allocate 250 Billion Rubles to Save Volga River

First Channel reports that the state will allocate 250 billion rubles (about 4.3 billion USD) for programs helping the Volga. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the city of Volgograd to a lead a meeting on environmental issues in the Volga area. First Channel quoted Prime Minister Medvedev as saying that 5.5 cubic kilometers of wastewater are discharged into the Volga every year, and only 10 percent of that undergoes treatment. Further, there are about 2,500 sunk vessels stuck in the Volga. The government intends to organize a program to monitor the Volga environment and to construct new wastewater treatment facilities there.


Rehabilitation of Polluted Lakes and Rivers in Russia Will Take Decades

First Channel states that the rehabilitation of polluted lakes and rivers in Russia will take decades. As an example, First Channel reports that 33,000 tons of liquid waste is discharged yearly into the Angara River, near Irkutsk, which makes the river dangerous for swimming. The Oka River in the area of Ryazan has become shallow and dirty. The Volga has tremendous pollution from 15 regions of Russia (one-third of the population of the country), and many of the wastewater treatment facilities on its bank are actually no longer in use. The major share of pollution comes from industrial enterprises; a new law on the environment will oblige them to have 24-hour online control of their discharges starting from 2019. Penalties for enterprises that have a negative impact on the environment will be drastically increased from 2020.


Fire in Rostov Region Increased by 1.5 Times in 24 Hours

First Channel reports that fires in the Rostov region have continued for three days, with at least five thousand hectares (19 square miles) of forest destroyed. Firefighters managed to protect the houses of the local villages, although some farms were destroyed by fire. First Channel states that the fire was most likely man-made, an investigation is the progress, and the culprit may be subject to a large penalty and up to three years in prison.


Aftermath of Heavy Rain in Krasnoyarsk

First Channel reports that in the city of Krasnoyarsk, heavy rain brought two-thirds of the monthly norm of precipitation in seven hours. As a result, 150 apartment buildings were flooded, streets turned into rivers where no public transport was able to run.

Russia Channel reports that dozens of streets and more than 80 apartment buildings in Krasnoyarsk were flooded after heavy rains. Further, the disaster resulted in power outages in some areas of the city and some car owners left their vehicles abandoned on the flooded streets after traffic came to a standstill.


Sanctions Boosted Metabolism of Russian Agricultural Sector

Russia Channel states that during the period of sanctions, the agricultural sector in Russia has made a significant progress. For example, in profits for domestic dairy cattle-breeding are up 25 percent. As an example, Bryansk Meat Company has become Europe’s largest producer of beef. The company has a half million of cows and plans to add another half million. However, the channel added, Russia still lacks high quality domestic agricultural and food processing equipment; such equipment is purchased abroad, which results price increases for food.


Strength in Siberia: What was not Included in First Reports about Vladimir Putin’s Vacation

First Channel reports that President Putin has taken another trip to remote Siberian places to do some fishing. This time, Vladimir Putin went to southern Siberia where was accompanied by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu “who advised where it would be better to fish” (Shoigu is a native of Tuva, located in southern Siberia). Putin hunted fish with a water rifle, the channel said, and managed to catch a pike with the second shot. First Channel notes that Western media commented on the vacation mostly by stressing President Putin’s “perfect” physical shape.

About the Author

Andrei Nesterov
Andrei Nesterov has reported on political and social issues for the Russian press as well as American outlets such as Russian Life,, and Triangle Free Press. He has travelled Russia extensively and penned many stories on the "real Russia" which lies beyond the capital and major cities. Andrei graduated from Ural State University (journalism) and Irkutsk State Linguistic University (English). He studied public policy and journalism at Duke University on a Muskie Fellowship and went on to study TESOL and teach Russian at West Virginia University. He is currently working on an MA from St. Petersburg State in International Relations. Andrei contributes news, feature stories, and language resources to the SRAS site, and is an overall linguistics and research resource. He additionally helps coordinate activities for our students in Moscow.