Ecological Challenges to Economic Reforms in CIS Countries
Some participants wondered whether the West has been doing anything at all in order to slow down this destructive process. Some timid answers, referring to single and still inefficient projects on the behalf of the EU or other international organisations only confirmed the general opinion that not much has been done. Only when public attention is drawn towards a specific situation, as in the case of the recent Komi accident, Western governments tend to react. More than 600 Komi-like accidents occur in Russia every year that nobody ever hears about. If the West really wanted to improve the situation, one speaker argued, it should strengthen the few NGOs that exist in the CIS and put diplomatic pressure, combined with financial incentives, on the Russian government to tackle this very urgent problem.
Wondering about the statistical reliability of the presented data, participants were told that reality is probably even worse, as some statistical methods still try to conceal the real situation.
The attitude of Russian society and politicians was also discussed. Unfortunately, it had to be noted that widespread frustration and lack of motivation, especially among hospital personnel, shows that there are very few driving forces within the Russian population that might force a change. Unless the Russian population recognises the fatal situation, considerable changes are unlikely.