Russian Politician Invites Greta Thunberg to Speak in Parliament, Official Slaps Him Down, Says Look at Her Instagram Instead

Greta Thunberg has been invited to speak in Russian state parliament by a young politician. In a letter to the Swedish climate activist, Vasily Vlasov, deputy of the State Duma, told the teenager that young people across the country will not let themselves to be "condemned to extinction," and asked her to come speak on the "vital issues" facing the planet.

"I am aware of the Russian youth's concerns over global ecology problems," the letter said, according to the Moscow Times. "I know how difficult it may be for adult politicians to find compromise even regarding such vitally important matters. We as the younger generation must not remain silent when it comes to our future, and we won't allow ourselves to be condemned to extinction."

Vlasov, 24, sent the letter to the Swedish Embassy, telling Thunberg she was welcome to give a speech to young people in the State Duma "on any date convenient for you."

The State Duma is the lower house of Russia's Federal Assembly. Its headquarters are in Moscow.

The invitation follows Thunberg's impassioned speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit held in New York last week. In her address, the 16-year-old told world leaders: "You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.

"We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not."

According to the Moscow Times, her speech sparked a "fierce backlash" in Russia, where the number of young climate activists is reportedly growing.

Russia's state news agency Tass said the Swedish embassy had received the letter and would "refer the request" to Thunberg.

However, Tass also reports Vlasov did not have the authority to invite her to Russia. State officials said only committees can extend invitations to parliament, and individual MPs "do not have powers to do so."

Vladimir Burmatov, Chair of the Committee on Ecology and Environment Protection, told Russian state news agency Tass: "It is vital to take different opinions into consideration, live in the agenda of the whole world, we shouldn't stray away from it. However, our national interests are a priority, the State Duma as parliament should be based on precisely that."

Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg delivering a speech in Montreal. A Russian politician has invited the teenager to speak in Parliament despite not having the authority to do so. Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

He continued: "If we listen to every environmental activist or public figure at the State Duma podium, then it will be the only thing we do. In my view, Greta does not have that many proposals and you can just acquaint with them by simply opening her Instagram."

Russia is the fourth biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, behind China, the U.S. and India. However, it is taking steps to address its emissions. At the U.N. climate summit, the country's climate advisor Ruslan Edelgeriev announced Russia had formally adopted the Paris Agreement—where, in 2015, nations across the world pledged to implement changes to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius warming by the end of the century.

After taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump formally withdrew the U.S. from the agreement.