Staunton, November 12 – Over the last month, the Russian authorities have been tightening the ring around the Shiyes protest, alarmed by the way in which that year-long action has inspired Russians elsewhere to oppose the government’s plan to build dumps around the country for Moscow trash (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/11/on-obviously-fake-pretext-russian.html).
Now, Valery Solovey says, the Kremlin, apparently having concluded that the onset of winter would not end the demonstrations there, has decided to crush “the commune” as the anti-trash protesters call their encampment, even though at least in the short term that would give the Russian authorities a black eye (realtribune.ru/news/authority/3066).
The decision, the outspoken Moscow commentator and former MGIMO professor says, was prompted not only by the spread and growth of environmental protests – there were two major demonstrations against trash dumps last weekend alone – but also because the Shiyes activists have become a model for other kinds of protest as well.
“Ecological protests in Russia are being inspired by the successful experience of resistance to the construction of the trash dump in Shiyes,” Solovey says. “There already for more than a year, activists have not allowed the beginning of construction of the largest dump in Europe.” If their success continues, the authorities will face more problems there and elsewhere.
Hence the decision, the commentator says, to “’cleanse’ Shiyes” and “thereby deprive ecological protects of this symbol, hope and model for emulation.”