Duma Deputy from Sakha Demands Republic Ecology Minister, ALROSA Officials be Fired
August 31 – Protests in many parts of Russia are changing in an important way:
Instead of demanding that Vladimir Putin or some other higher up take action to
solve a problem, people and their leaders are demanding that this or that
official or businessman be dismissed for malfeasance or failure to do their
personalization of protest highlights the growing divide between the people and
the powers and gives each side less room for maneuver than has been the case
earlier. As a result, officials are likely to dig in and the population to be
further radicalized, politicizing a situation that might earlier have been resolved
more easily with good will on both sides.
says that government and business officials bear full responsibility for “the
ecological catastrophe” on local rivers, that the republic must declare a state
of emergency to address it, and that those officials responsible be removed
from their posts on the basis of Stalin’s principle that “’every problem has a
first name and a last name.’”
deputy’s call follows protests by local people about the contamination of the
rivers of the republic by the ALROSA diamond concern and the failure of
officials in the government to do anything about them. At best, they have been “ineffective,”
Tumusov says; at worst, they have been complicit with the company.
situation in the republic’s rivers has become so bad that activists but not yet
officials are warning people against drinking water from them.
environmental protection and historical preservation movements were the first
stage in national movements in the last decade of the Soviet Union. Now, once
again, albeit typically below the radar screen of people in Moscow, they are
playing a similar but far more radical role beyond that city’s ring road.