Staunton, July 26 – Moscow now wants to dump some of the most dangerous radioactive wastes as well as almost as dangerous chemical and biological trash in four regions over the objections of residents. Activists are calling these dumps “death factories” and pledge to mount protests against them.
The four sites are in the Udmurt and Altay Republics and two predominantly ethnic Russian oblasts, Kirov and Kurgan; and activists in the four have come together to protest the failure of the Russian government and the corporation that it has given the task to build and operate these dumps to follow Russian laws (newizv.ru/news/politics/22-07-2020/v-chetyreh-regionah-rossii-zreet-protest-iz-za-zavodov-smerti).
In many ways, this is a recapitulation of the situation that has given rise to the Shiyes protests over an ordinary dump Moscow wants to develop for Moscow trash; but these four are likely to become more serious for at least two reasons, possibly blowing up politically in the face of the powers that be at the center and those at the regional level who support these efforts.
On the one hand, anytime the word “radioactive” is used, popular concerns become elevated; and on the other, the events in Shiyes and now Khabarovsk show that people in the regions are more prepared to protest than they were earlier. In Udmurtia, for example, the Kremlin-appointed head backs the project despite the objections of his own population.
The Inter-Regional Coordination Committee ‘No to Death Factories!’ is demanding investigations, full-scale investigations with the results made available to the public, and public referenda in each of the regions where Moscow wants to put wastes from the major cities and even profit by importing it from abroad.
And in all four regions, it reports, people are making these demands and organizing public actions under slogans like “Children’s Lives are More Valuable than Money,” “We have to Live Here,” and “Moscow, take care of your own wastes.”