Staunton, Nov. 29 – When the people of Shiyes rose in opposition to Moscow’s plans to open a new trash dump near that northern settlement, Russians elsewhere took it as their model. But Moscow has failed to see that by using the same strategy it adopted at Shiyes, it not only will face more actions by the population but will likely have to reverse course.
That is the conclusion Tatyana Britskaya, who covers the Russian North for Novaya gazeta, offers not only on the basis of her experiences in Shiyes but in two villages near Veliky Ustryug which is now “’a second Shiyes’” since Moscow is trying to do the same thing in the same way (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/12/01/oni-boiatsia-tolko-narodnogo-bunta).
Plans for the new trash dump call for it to cover 65 hectares, six hectares more than the current largest dump in Europe which is located near Moscow, something that will cost billions of rubles to build and operate. But the population has not been consulted, and requests by people for new roads in the region have been rejected by the powers as “too expensive.”
But if the authorities in Moscow and locally have learned nothing and forgotten nothing from Shiyes, the people in the North have learned a great deal and forgotten nothing about how the Shiyes protesters won out. The only things the authorities fear, they know, are scandals and mass protests. And so in yet another place, the people are going to give them both.
And the powers that be by their heavy-handed use of repression will only ensure that the number of scandals and the size of the protests with all the attention they will get will be larger than it was at Shiyes, exactly the opposite outcome that the authorities hope for but an example of how protests build on protests when those in charge don’t know how to act.
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