Pensioners sue Moscow authorities over summer smog

The pensioners want Moscow government to compensate them for "moral damages".

Moscow: A Moscow pensioner couple have filed a lawsuit against the authorities in the Russian capital over the smog that shrouded the city in the summer.

The pensioners demand that the Moscow government compensate them for "moral damages", pay for their treatment at a southern Russian resort and install an air conditioner in their apartment - in all, 700,000 rubles (USD 23,024), a Tverskoi court spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

A scorching heat wave, which lasted from mid-June through mid-August, sparked peat bog and forest fires in the Moscow region, periodically blanketing the capital and huge chunks of central Russia in a blanket of acrid smog. Air pollution in Moscow was at times tenfold the norm.

The couple, Viktor and Nina Shelepin, said they had been "constantly exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning" in July-August, and that the Moscow authorities had "done nothing" to protect their health.

They cited article 53 of the Russian Constitution, ensuring citizens` right to receive compensation for harm inflicted by the authorities` illegal actions or lack of action.

"As a result of the Moscow city government`s irresponsible work, our health deteriorated. The carbon monoxide poisoning reduced our health and life span," they said in the lawsuit.

Former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, dismissed by President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday, was earlier slammed by state TV channels for spending too long on vacation as the city suffered from smog.