Dr. Alexey Yablokov, described as Russia’s “environmental knight” and as the “grandfather of Russian ecology,” passed away on January 10 at the age of 83.
Dr. Yablokov authored over 500 papers and published numerous textbooks on biology, ecology, and conservation; co-founded Greenpeace Russia; and led the Green Russia division of the Yabloko opposition party. He was a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, served in the Soviet parliament, and was an advisor to former Russian presidents Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev. In 1993, he exposed the radiological threat posed by Russian dumping of military reactors and nuclear submarines in the Arctic and, in 2007, was lead author of the seminal book Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment. From 1989 until his death, Dr. Yablokov was a member of AWI’s International Committee of advisors.
As a young scientist, Dr. Yablokov studied whales and dolphins and soon became a strong advocate for their conservation. In 1993, at a conference in Galveston, Texas, he revealed that decades of Soviet whaling records were woefully incomplete, as they failed to disclose that at least 180,000 whales were killed between 1948 and 1973. In 1995, he created the Marine Mammal Council in Russia to provide expert advice and peer-reviewed science to the public and the government.
Dr. Yablokov was a powerful voice for protecting the environment and its denizens; he called attention to the tragic consequences when we fail to do so. At AWI, we are saddened by his passing, but will be forever grateful for his bold advocacy and his many contributions to our understanding of our place on the planet.