Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Moscow’s Approach to Oil Spills Reflects Russian Colonialism, Komi Journalist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 3 – As a result of Russian colonialism, Valera Ilinov says, Moscow is not only taking nearly all the profits derived from the extraction of oil from places like the Komi Republic but putting the future of the residents and nations there at risk by its cavalier approach to oil spills.

            Both Russians and non-Russians are aware of the imperial approach Moscow has adopted to extracting resources, the Komi journalist says; but there is less awareness about the ways in which oil companies and their allies in the government have failed to clean up after oil spills (

            The largest spills have been reported by environmental activists despite Moscow’s efforts to keep information about these disasters from reaching a wider audience, including blocking the activities of these groups. But the far larger number of small spills has not attracted the same attention.

            But these are so numerous and the contamination of land and water in the Komi Republic so extensive that rivers which were once the lifeblood of that Finno-Ugric nation are dead and an increasing number of Komi feel that the future survival of their nation is very much at risk, Ilinov says.

            What is striking is that the Komi journalist is now connecting the dots and describing what Moscow and the oil companies are doing as the result of Russian colonialism, a categorization that few were likely to have made until recently and one that points to a further radicalization of a people who have already shown their anger about what Moscow is doing.


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