Vyacheslav Trubnikov, who served as the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service and Russian deputy foreign minister, has branded 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg “our ally”, Russian media reports.
The intelligence veteran, who spoke at an event dedicated to former Russian prime minister and intelligence chief Yevgeny Primakov at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences, noted that one of Russia’s most respected politicians cared about ecological problems. Trubnikov pitted Greta Thunberg against US President Donald Trump, who seems unconcerned about the environment and has raised doubts about climate change.
“I see her as our ally”, he said.
Earlier this autumn, lawmaker Vasily Vlasov, who serves as the first deputy chairman of the Russian lower house of parliament's committee for natural resources, invited the climate activist to deliver a speech for the country's youth in the State Duma. He also praised Thunberg's energy and strong will.
The invitation followed her passionate speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, accusing global political leaders of failing to take necessary steps.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, said that he doesn’t “share the general enthusiasm about Greta Thunberg’s speech”. The president noted that he is “convinced that Greta is a kind and very sincere girl”, but argued that it is wrong to use children and teenagers to promote even noble goals.
"After all, no one has explained to Greta that the modern world is complex and diverse, and is developing rapidly. People in Africa or many Asian countries want to live at the same standards as in Sweden. And how is this done? Should they now start using solar energy, of which there is plenty in Africa? Has anyone explained to her what it costs?" he said, voicing his doubt.
Thunberg inspired the Fridays for Future environmental initiative after rallying against the perceived lack of climate action in front of the Swedish parliament every day for three weeks during school hours in 2018.