The EU is providing more than £100m in grants and loans to tackle pollution from Russia's second city, St Petersburg, which has already killed off vast stretches of the Baltic sea.
The decision to fund work outside the EU's borders - £5m is coming from the UK - is a departure for Brussels, but officials believe it has been forced upon them by the refusal of Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, to provide cash for the work.
The millions of gallons of raw sewage which flow out of the river Neva every year have already taken a toll: the Gulf of Finland is devoid of all life on large areas of the sea bed, ruined by the high levels of phosphorus. On the surface, toxic algae are turning the sea blue-green.
It's hard to think of such global issues when you're sitting on the toilet, taking a crap. No one does, I'm afraid. And it's hard to see why they deserve so much money when you set out for a walk outside St. Pete: you arrive to enjoy the nature and fresh air, but instead there's stench and garbage almost everywhere, in and around the Gulf of Finland. You'd think all they need is to just stop getting rid of their shit right outside their dachas, but who needs such a cheap solution.