Staunton, December 4 – Relations between Moscow and the regions have never been good: the former talks about the latter as “the provinces” and extracts as much as it can while giving as little back as possible; and the latter views the capital with a combination of envy for its significantly better standard of living and hatred because of the center’s arrogance.
The city of Moscow has now made this situation worse by coming up with plans to send its garbage to various regions, a policy that some in the regions now call “trash colonization” ( ) and that has sparked mass protests including demands that Moscow appointees who agreed to it be summarily removed.
Earlier this summer there were “trash revolts” in parts of Moscow oblast and in adjoining regions near the capital. Those attracted enormous attention, and so the city fathers appear to have decided that the best course of action is to send the city’s wastes further afield to avoid activism and attention. That plan has backfired.
There have been protests in the more distant regions Moscow has tried to send its trash ( ), but so far, the largest has been in Arkhangelsk where 30,000 people went into the streets on Sunday to demand the plan be stopped and the governor who agreed to it be removed.
And coverage of that protest and of others has been widespread. (See , , , , , and
All the reasons Moscow wants to get rid of its trash by sending it to the regions are the same as the reasons that the regions don’t want to take it: it takes a great deal of land, it smells bad for long periods, and it releases poisons into the air and water that threaten the health and well-being of residents.
Unfortunately, the Putin regime believes that it can do what it likes, especially away from the media glare in Moscow. But such NIMBY protests in the regions, Lyudmila Nikolayeva of Svobodnaya pressa observes, show that “the authorities don’t understand that they may be thrown out along with the trash” ().