Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Voices of Shiyes Protesters Increasingly Passionate, Political and Anti-Moscow

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 11 – The months’ long protest in the Russian north over Moscow’s plans to build dumps as at Shiyes for trash generated by the capital typically is discussed in terms of the issues involved – the center’s unwillingness to listen to local concerns and the readiness of the authorities to lie and use force against the population.

            In this way, the voices of the individuals taking part in these protests have sometimes been lost or overshadowed by the issues. Yuliya Vishnevskaya of Radio Liberty performs a useful service by bringing together the comments of those who have decided to protest against Moscow’s actions (

                Below is a selection of those the journalist reproduces:

·         “Why are they beginning to make a dump here? For what possible reason … Why do we need Muscovite trash? We have enough of our own and we somehow are dealing with it.”

·         “Moscow it turns out is a state within the state. They want to breathe clean air and drink clean water. It isn’t enough that they take all the money; now they want to send their wastes back to the regions … It is shameful and what is the main thing is that the police are n the side of the state. They should be with the people.”

·         “Here patrols go about at night. The Russian Guard and they are armed! All are afraid of partisans … We’ve already photographed several miniature monitoring cameras n the woods.

·         “They can’t understand how people can stand up for their motherland if they don’t have money but want to do something.”

·         A grandmother said she missed her grandson’s birthday because she is “defending the motherland” by taking part in the protests.

·         “No one knows at home where I am. Officially I went to fish. Every day I telephone home and say that the weather was bad and I couldn’t go fishing.”

·         “There are internal forces here at night. These already aren’t the OMON or Russian Guard; these are the army. There were 36 of them; our boys counted them.”

·         “No one wants to talk about Shiyes.” And when our children travelled to Arkhangelsk, their leaders said “don’t talk about Shiyes” to anyone.

·         “In principle, everyone supports us, but some do not understand whether we will be able to stop this; some simply do not believe, they think that everything is decided above us and that there is no sense in our opposing the bosses. But they are all against the dumps.”

·         “People tell us we must build a civil society. It is here. Here there are no leaders, no bosses, no elder in charge. Here everyone knows how to act.”

·         “Self-organization is a leap to the next level of the development of society.”

·         “Here, the community really is very strong in and of itself; it isn’t beaten down. In the North, it is very difficult to survive alone, practically impossible in fact. This people must understand.”

·         “All our bosses and bigshots who sit with millions in their pockets cannot understand that people will defend their native land, where they hunt for mushrooms and where they live from generation to generation. Therefore, they will stand up for it. I say those in power are below average people.”

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