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The Russian Geographical Society is Russia's oldest and one of its most respected scientific societies, founded in 1845. The Sochi branch has historically been one of its most active divisions, with members frequently publicizing information about the potential environmental impacts of construction of Olympic venues and infrastructure and risks of landslides due to Olympic construction. The Society's new leadership, which includes senior government officials, has threatened to strip its branch offices, including the Sochi branch, of their independent legal status. Such a move could threaten the branch offices' ability to speak out on environmental issues of public concern.