Monday, September 10, 2012

Borodino threatened by cottages!?

Re-enactors take part in the annual observance of Borodino in 2012

This news item is rather disturbing. Apparently Russian corruption has allowed portions of the battlefield at Borodino to be developed into lots for "cottages" purchased by the well-to-do despite a law aimed at protecting the iconic battlefield.

This is unfortunate, and Russia, with its weak rule of law, seems especially vulnerable to this sort of thing. Apparently Putin has taken notice of the problem and I think he'll probably be able to put a stop to i for now, despite the pessimism expressed in the article. Over the long haul, however, such pessimism is warranted because the weak state of the rule of law in Russia means that protecting the site relies on the personal interest and intervention of Putin or his successors. This is hardly a sustainable plan for preservation!

Evidently the annual re-enactment at Borodino is a very big deal, involving thousands of participants every year, so there's a lot of public support for preservation -- not the indifference that plagues American battlefield preservationists in many places.

But, as someone noted in the article, money talks and in Putin's Russia ,money talks very loudly.

Let's hope that the attention to the problem keeps the battlefield safe for now and that the rule of law grows enough in Russia over time so there will still be a battlefield for the 250th anniversary!

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