Categories: Women Scientists

Maria Cherkasova – ecologist and journalist

  1. Full name: Maria V. Cherkasova
  2. Born on:  1938
  3. Nationality: Russian
  4. Education: Biology and Ecology, Moscow State University
  5. Well known for:  In 1986, Ministry of Energy in the Soviet Union decided to build a huge 200 metre high dam on the Katun River in the Altar Mountains. Maria Cherkasova successfully coordinated a 4year campaign to halt the construction of a hydro-electric dam on the river Katun due to its worst environmental impacts.

Maria Cherkasova is a renowned ecologist and journalist and the Director of the Centre for Independent Ecological Programmes (CIEP). She also co-founded the Socio-Ecological Union, which has become the largest ecological NGO in the former Soviet Union.

Education: Maria Cherkasova graduated in biology from Moscow State University and became a faculty of biology in the same University. She was active in the environmental protection movement in the early 1960s. Post 1960, she started working on Red Data Book of the Russian Federation.


Ministry of Energy, Russia planned to build massive dam on the Katun River in the Altar Mountains in 1986. This dam had many environmental consequences such as flooding historic wilderness and fertile land, mercury and other toxic substances leaching into the drinking water for millions of people, etc. Maria Cherkasova spread the word that such a dam would bring negative environmental impacts to the millions of surrounding people and subsequently degrade the environment.  She stood against the decision of the Soviet Union and actively protested with the help of local people and scientists resulting in the construction of dam being scrapped.

She became the director of Centre for Independent Ecological Programmes (CIEP) in 1991. CIEP organizes and drives activities in a wide range of ecologically related areas and is involved in environmental issues and ecological restoration activities. In recent years, Ms. Cherkasova has turned her attention to protecting children’s rights to living in healthy and valuable environments. She has also co-founded the Socio-Ecological Union, which has become the largest ecological NGO in the former Soviet Union.


Maria Cherkasova

Centre for Independent Ecological Programs

Malaya Bronnaya st. 12-12 123104 Moscow, Russia


Phone: (095) 118-8686

Fax: (095) 118-8686

(Address and phone numbers are taken from the publicly available data on Childwatch International network)

Editor’s note: There are many women scientists who are responsible for making discoveries and advances in the fields of Environment and natural science. On the occasion of World Women’s Day, we at Green Clean Guide decided to share information on world’s renowned women scientists. This is a series of articles to pay tribute to these exceptional women. Please visit category – ‘World Women Scientist’ regularly for updated information. Green Clean Guide wishes its readers a very happy World Women’s Day.


Shailesh is post graduate in Environment Management from Forest Research Institute (FRI) University, Dehradun, India. Presently he is working in the areas of Environmental and Renewable Energy Advisory Services. He has started during his college days.

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