Unfortunately for humankind, Lake Baikal is situated near a paper mill now owned by Oleg Deripaska, a wealthy confidant of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The mill had been dumping toxic waste into the lake from 1966 until October 2008. In 2008, a court banned the further discharge of waste into the lake, and Deripaska shutdown the mill.
Then, last week Putin signed a decree that removes "waste discharges in the production of pulp, paper and cardboard from a list of operations banned by environmental legislation in and around" Lake Baikal. This decree legalized the continued dumping of toxic waste into the lake.
Freed from inconvenient environmental rules, Deripaska will soon restart the mill. He claims that he has upgraded the technology of the mill to the point that it will "not do any ecological harm to the lake".