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Russian Election Politicking Over Kyoto Protocol Nothing More than Hot Air

Milan, Italy - The statement of a Russian economic advisor against the Kyoto Protocol was nothing more than pre-election bluster, ahead of Moscow's Duma election this Sunday, according to the Climate Action Network, speaking at the protocol talks in Milan.

A Russian economic advisor to President Putin, Andrei Illarionov, had stated today that he believed Russia would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol in its present form, because it placed "significant limitations on the economic growth of Russia."

Alexey Kokorin, the head of WWF's Climate Change program in Russia, said that Illarionov's statement is merely pre-election political maneuvering and did not hold any weight as to what Russia would actually do.

"Illarionov does not speak for the President or the Russian Government," said Kokorin. "This is just the latest statement in a long line of predictions by Illarionov which have failed to eventuate. He opposed the Russian energy strategy which was then adopted in May 2003, and he poured cold water on the economic plan for GDP growth, which was also later adopted."

"While Illarionov's opinion will sound like music to the ears of the US administration, it's far too early to be reading the funeral notice of the Kyoto Protocol," said Steven Guilbeault, Greenpeace International Climate Campaigner.

"The person who speaks for Russia is Vladimir Putin and not some bureaucrat. President Putin has made numerous statements in the past few months, reaffirming Russia would ratify."

Elections for the Duma, the Russia Parliament's lower house, will take place on Sunday 7th December. The Russian Presidential elections will take place in March 2004. Russia is expected to ratify after those elections.