Socio-ecological Union

The Newsletter of
the Socio-Ecological Union
A Center for Coordination
and Information

Moscow, Russia -- Issue 3 (03), March, 1999













Dear friends!
On April   we distributed SEU Times Special - SEU Statement on war in Kosovo. 
We have received lots of feedback, sometimes very different. 
So we offer the answer to you letters, explaining our position on and our
understanding of the situation.

     Dear friends,
     thank you all for feedback even if you do not agree  with
our Statement. The dialog is a way to mutual understanding.
     First of all I would like to say that for us in SEU demand to
stop NATO agression is not the same that to defend Miloshevich. 
We proposed that
ALL initiators of this war are to be held before international jury court and
Miloshevich the first. We avoided the names... .
     Who is to be punished?
     Dictator Miloshevich?
 Is there any example you are aware of when dictator (personally) was
 punished/hurt by his country citizens deaths??? 
Did any of them suffer looking at the his dying citizens?
     Serbia as a nation?
     In that case? is there any difference from Miloshevich's actions towards Albanians?

     Our sad experience of Chechen war has shown that military machine
pursues its own goals and not to stop "ethnic cleansing".
     And Kosovo war also show it from the very beginning.
     Only one fact:
     We received information that NATO was using Depleted Uranium ordnance in 
Kosovo. Later it was confirmed by NATO representative in Tokio.
     Depleted (DU) uranium is one of the largest categories of
radioactive waste produced for the nuclear weapons and nuclear reactor
industry. It is highly toxic to humans, both chemically as a heavy
metal and radiologically as an alpha particle emitter which is very
dangerous when taken internally. Recently it has been substitute for
lead in bullets and missiles by the US and UK, and was first used
extensively by the West in the Gulf War. It is most likely a major
contributor to the Gulf War Syndrome experienced both by the veterans
and the people of Iraq.

     Is the radioactive pollution of the territory a mean to
defend the freedom of those who live at this territory?
     Or NATO goal is to make Kosovo a dead apocalypse land?
     Many of you questionned:
     How do we then help those who are being killed for the purpose of
ethnic cleansing?
     Should we stand by and watch innocent people die in a different

     If you would like to protect population - o'k. You should act
like police: send 1 million of NATO soldiers to Kosovo in order to stop crimes from 
both sides and take care of the population of all nationalities.
     It is dangerous - yes!
     It is usefull - I doubt. Russia failed in Chechnya. Germany
failed in Yugoslavia at Second World War. But it is much more
understandable in comparison with distant bombing.

     Is it possible even in theory to stop the killing of innocent people in
Kosovo by killing other innocent peolple in Belgrad?
     Is it possible to stop the violation of law by another violation
of law? Even in theory?
     Real disaster is that NATO agression indicated that the West have
nothing to offer to stop dictators except the bombs. Nothing to protect
human rights except the bombs.
     The humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo is turning into 
humanitarian catastrophe on the Earth. NATO bombing becomes "a face of
democracy". Congratulations! All the dictators in the world received
an exellent gift from NATO and are applauding it. It is so hard realise this for you, 
it is so easy to understand this in Russia.
     NATO is bombing not Yugoslavia but the movement toward democracy. This
is our main conclusion.

     Please, think about in terms of reality not in the Hollywood terms.
     Sviatoslav Zabelin,
     Socio-Ecological Union


Anti-war comittee is aimed to prevent Russia's possible involvement into the war
in Balkans, since such possibility exists. 
The main directions of its activitiy are actions and information campaign. 
The information work is aimed to give as objective 
information as possible, reveling truth both about Serbian Government and NATO actions. 
The regular analytical press-releases 
which shed light on economical/ecological/political consequences of such
 involvement are part of the committee's work. 

This one of the AWC press-releases:

April 16, 1999
"Undeclared war between NATO and Serbia is a threat to whole world, nuclear
plants in Eastern Europe aren't protected adequately", said Moscow' Anti-war
committee on Friday. Not only Zagreb' research nuclear reactor can be
affected by this armed conflict, but also both Bulgarian Kozloduy (KNNP) and Hungarian Paks
(PNNP) nuclear plants. KNPP located in just 200 km and Paks in less than 400 km away from conflict
Both nuclear plants operate VVER-440 Soviet-designed reactors which can be
compared to Chernobyl' level of safety. Both nuclear plants are not protected
against, for example, airstrike. Moreover, a little mistake of soldier or pilot of military
aircraft can bring the world to another global nuclear disaster, even in
case if Russia or NATO will not use its nuclear weapon.
Bulgaria gave its permission for using of own airfields for both Serbian and
NATO's planes. According to Mr. Kashiev, a chairman of Bulgarian committee for
peaceful use of atomic power, Gabrovnice airfield located in 50 km from Kozloduy nuclear
plant. This airfield was previously used only for Russian aircrafts transporting
nuclear fuel for the plant. 3th nuclear reactor is currently under repair and its
shield removed. Reactor is absolutely unprotected. Large amount of the spent
nuclear fuel' roads stored right next to this reactor, it's also absolutely unprotected.
In similar conditions Armenian nuclear plant was shut down during armed
conflict between Armenia and Azerbajan 10 years ago.
According to the media reports in Bulgaria, Ministry of inner affairs
declared that foreign aircrafts did not use Bulgarian airfields so far. But people from
villages located close to Bulgarian-Yugoslavian border says up to 30 aircrafts fly every
night over their homes. Since the NATO's bombing started in Serbia, at least
3 bombs were founded on Bulgarian territory. According to official statements, it's
always mistake of the NATO' pilots.
Bulgaria can not protect its nuclear plant. It has no funds to provide adequate
protection in form of 3 military aircrafts which requested by safety rules for
nuclear plants. Only one aircraft guard KNPP presently.
"In order to prevent a global nuclear disaster the Balkan war should be stopped
immediately, Russia should not be involved into the war but it must effectively
stimulate peaceful negotiations," - says Vladimir Slivyak, coordinator of
the Anti-war committee in Moscow. "Otherwise global nuclear disaster will
happen to the world, even in case if no sides of conflict will use nuclear weapon".
More information in Moscow:
278-4642, 776-6546 - Vladimir Slivyak (, Alisa
Nikoulina (aln@glasnet. ru), 137-7131 - Oleg Kireev (


On February 25 the city public hearings were held in Novorossiisk on the 
Caspian Pipeline Consortium construction. 
One more time environmentalists and local people had expressed the 
concerns about the threats that oil pipeline brings 
to the region. The CPC representatives were unable to answer question 
on the environmental safety - and he hardly could 
as the project itself has almost no environmental safety provisions.
The Hearings participants voted for the referendum and for Consortium work
 correction upon the referendum results. 
The request for the referendum was sent to the city Duma. In case it refuses
 the referendum, activists are eager to
gather 10 000 signatures needed to start the referendum procedure.
Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) was found in 1992 by the Governments of 
Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and 
Oman Sultanate for construction of a 1500 km long pipeline in order to
 transport crude oil from Kazakhstan (Tengiz deposit) 
through Russia to terminal on the Black Sea coast near Novorossiysk. 
According to the agreement signed in December, 1996 
several international oil companies joined the Consortium. In CPC shares 
are the following: Russia - 24%, Kazakhastan - 19%, 
Oman - 7%, Chevron (USA) - 15%, LUKoil (Russia) 12,5%, Mobil (USA) - 7,5%, 
Rosneft/Shell (Russia -the Netherlands)- 7,5%, Agip 
(Italy) - 2%, British Gas (Great Britain) - 2%, Kazakhoil (Kazakhstan) - 1,75%, 
Orix (USA) - 1,75%. Primary pipeline's capacity is 
28 mln tons crude oil per year, with planned capacity up to 67 mln tons per 
year by 2014. Total cost of the project is 4 billion US$, 
duration of construction - the period from 1997 to 1999. CPC pipeline 
terminal and oil storage facilities are proposed to be constructed 
near the Yuzhnaya Ozereika settlement, on the territory of Abrausski zakaznik.
This area is supposed to be included in the 
boundaries of designed Utrish Biosphere Reserve. It is a place
where unique relict forests, so scarce in the region, grow; valuable 
grape fields (of which world famous wine Abrau - Durso is made) have
 brought fame to the site. Novorossisk is the largest 
oil-port in Russia with developed facilities and infrastructure. However,
 CPC does not consider an option of using the existing 
facilities preferring to construct new terminal on another place totally 
under control of CPC members. The reason why this angerous 
for fragile Black Sea coastline nature project was chosen among others 
is its cost: it is less expensive. The construction of special 
port for Kazakhstan oil is an additional threat for Black Sea and its 
coastline ecosystems, thus it endangers all the countries situated 
at the Black Sea coastline. Black Sea is a closed- up aquatoria and any
accident there will lead to disastrous consequences. 
Novorossisk region has index of seismic activity of 8.3. Yuzhnaya Ozereika
 is the area of potential tectonic activity. All these 
make accidents highly possible, especially taking into account the 
level of our technological discipline. And then what will happen 
to the only recreational zone that Russia possesses on the Black sea 
Coast? It is less than 400 km! Population of Krasnodarski 
Krai, twelve regional public organizations of diverse political orientation
 and environmental organizations have opposed the project. 
They are not willing to save money to oil giants through nature 
destruction. Moreover they began protest campaign demanding 
environmental impact assessment with public participation and broad
 discussion. In the federal Law on Environmental Impact 
Assessment, article 19, it is said that experts' resume on the proposed
 projects should reflect public opinion. Also this Law 
requires referendum in cases of construction of large objects that may
seriously affect the environment. Undoubtedly that realization 
of the project will alter the fate of Novorossisk, since its capacity is twice
 as much as capacity of currently operating oil-port at Novorossisk. 
But nobody has revealed an interest to public opinion so far. Public 
organizations ask Black Sea Coastline countries for support in saving 
Black Sea from the new danger. Recently the package of documents
 opposing the construction of the terminal have been submitted 
to the office of BSEP (Black Sea Environmental Protection) in Stambul. 
The CPC project development that touches the protected areas 
and threaten coastal ecosystems exercises principles controversial 
to that of Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection 
of the Black Sea signed in Istanbul, Turkey, October 30-31 1996 by the
 governments of Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russian Federation, 
Turkey and Ukraine. One of them reads: "In marine and coastal areas,
 and in particular in wetlands, new conservation areas shall be 
designated and the protection of existing conservation areas enhanced. 
In drafting their National Biological Diversity Strategies, Black 
Sea states shall take into consideration the integrity of the Black 
Sea system by, for example, designating conservation areas which
 are of regional significance." 


    Ecosettlements for the XXI century is a SEU program, gathering 
different NGOs. It was adopted by the 6 th SEU conference 
and has made significant progress since then.
    Today ecosettlements could be considered almost the only most
 efficient way for mankind shift to the ecolifstyle, forming not 
only sustainable living style but also new relationship type, 
human and not technical, centered.
     This includes living in harmony with nature and fellow settlers,
restoring their living environment. Such lifestyle enable broad
 personality development giving the opportunity for personal creativity. 
This way of living also provides for open exchange of 
the technology and information, giving new educational opportunities. 
Introducing the ecosettlement way of life leads to different 
governing way, shifting to self-government and broad community participation. 
Thus we consider ecosettlements to be the seeds for the new civilization,
 the environment in which new, more humane personalities are formed.

    The introduction of environmental friendly housing hits two targets - first, 
it is the basis for the new type of human communities, 
second - it is the way to reduce considerably man pressure on environment.
 The environment friendly housing introduction without 
a life quality loss is a way for civilization to shift smoothely to eco 
and not technical, lifestyle.
    In Russia, where the Ecodom - this is Russian word for environment 
friendly housing - this also solves several social problems - like 
providing family dwelling giving opportunity for the self sustaining way 
of life, sometimes this is equal to survival.
     The story goes back to 1989, when the group of academics, architects 
and engineers from Novosibirsk gathered around the
 idea of environment friendly housing. This is the birthtime of the ECODOM
 - unique enterprise working on development of 
ecodom - an environment friendly family house and technical development
 of different environment - friendly house parts. 
The main principle is to make a human dwelling a part of surrounding 
ecosystem, acting like a natural part of  it and producing 
almost no waste. The energy supply for the house is based on solar energy
 use, as well as on the use of different insulation 
means. The so called solar architecture is also used in the design, which
 means that maximum of the solar energy is used and minimum is lost. 
On the Other hand, the system of human waste biological treatment allows
 to produce almost no waste, the majority of which is 
composted and used for the gardening. Permaculture principles are 
also used for the Ecodom functioning and are meant
 to provide the family living in this house with different products.
    Understanding well enough, that many people may not be able or eager 
 to leave their apartments within multi - store houses, 
ECODOM is also working on the improvement of urban houses, making
them more environment and human friendly.
    Currently the work of the basic cottage model for Novosibirsk region - 
which is specific for its wide temperature range is almost finished.
    The ECODOM leader Igor Ogorodnikov has a bold goal to develop 
different project designs for different climate zones, 
with revelant construction material and technical appliances use.
    Today ECODOM cooperates with all three sectors of the society - the
 Ecodom project in year 1995 won the first prize at the
 Federal "Own House" contest, and since then was admitted of high state
 priority at the different authority level. 
    Ecodom has also developed close contacts with national and foreign 
building industry, and exchange of information, 
as well as cooperation on the environmentally sound construction 
technologies' development proved to be useful.
    The cooperation within the NGO community is also crucial, amd Ecodom
 is participant of several networks. The environment
 friendly housing network within CIS was established with support and
 initiative of the Sacred Earth Network, in the spring of 1997. 
NGOs from different regions and states agreed to exchange information 
and cooperate on the ecovillage network development.
    Besides lobbying and technology, the most crucial part is a grassroots
 level work. The real shift will come in when only the
 real decision makers, in this case - people who make decision to build the
 Environment friendly house, the Ecodom, are getting involved.
    On the March 13 the workshop for those who made decision to be a part
 of ecosettlement in the Novosibirsk suburb was held by 
Ecodom. Probably, this date after all should be considered a day that starts
 history of the Ecodom "on the ground".
    ECODOM starts publishing a series of practical recommendations for
 Ecodom construction, and the pilot issue of the first book 
is out already. After the authors receive comments and questions, the
 final version, corrected according to comments, will be compiled.


Socio-ecological Union of the North West Caucasus started public campaign
in order to protect Caucasian Biosphere 
Zapovednik from rude intrusion. Road Lagonaky - Dagomys planned by Adugeya
 republic authorities and RF Road 
Service will go through its territory, which is illegal according to different RF 
laws and will damage irreparably 
unique nature system protected by zapovednik.
The campaign includes direct action and information dissemination, majority 
of population in the cities of Maikop and 
Sochi -  road endpoints, support NGOs efforts.
On March 26 and 30 actions against the road were held within the framework 
of all - Europe Transport Action Day, 
held by ASEED.
Lately 42 academics filed in petition to different related authorities opposing 
the road construction.


Since November lasts conflict between environmentalists supported by local 
people on one side and commercial 
firm Agrodom and Sochi national Park on the other. 
All development are going around almost 400 years old unique Caucasian 
pear-tree garden, the pride and one of the 
living sources of Aibga settlement people. Unfortunately, the garden is on
 the territory planned for agricultural development 
by Megalux firm for tourist complex support. The project that was given
 for review did not contain any mention of logging the garden down. 
To back up the necessity of loggings, firm involved Sochi national park,
though the territory does not belong formally 
to the park. Commission set up by firm and park representatives carried 
out the decision that all trees were ill and sanitary clear-cut was needed. 
This fake conclusion gave a chance for other illegal operation - the trees were 
then considered to be "fuel wood", which
 is much less expensive than commercial one, so the loggers would receive 
a handsome profit, paying almost nothing 
for logging and selling this in reality good and healthy timber for commercial prices. 
The logging that started by the end of November was stopped by activists on
 December 2, until the commission to 
review the case would be set. Nevertheless, Sochi national park made attempt
to renew logging on December 27, 
and in three days 60 perfect trees were felled. On December 30 radical action 
by environmentalists and local people 
was taken, and in the fight one of the activists was injured. The logging was 
stopped for one more time. 
After activist managed to stop illegal loggings, there was another attempt by
Agrodom representatives to renew loggings.
The Commission gathered on the problem on March 11 found that 97 
Caucasian pear trees, 18 ash trees, 20 plum trees 
and some other - oaks, beech were illegally felled. No diseases were 
found, thus showing that commission gathered on 
September 98 by the Agrosom and Sochi national park wrote fake conclusion.
After that North-West Caucasus SEU representatives made local authorities 
to withdraw logging license from the Agrodom
 company. The prosecutor office was informed about the law violations. 
After that, the prosecutor confirmed, that 
all logging activities must be stopped.

On March 4 in St- Petersburg, Russia, meeting between Russian NGO Forest 
Club (including SEU Forest Program, SEU 
Biodiversity Conservation Center and Green Peace) and STORA - ENSO and 
UPM Kummene representatives was held. 
After the meeting companies confirmed their commitment to the old-growth moratorium.
Different old growth logging moratorium aspects were discussed, new maps 
of large undisturbed massives in Karelia, 
Murmansk, Vologda, Arkhangelsk regions and the Komi republic were presented.
These maps are of high demand among forest industry companies committed
to moratorium observation. 
For example, on December 17 1998 Svetogorsk PMP - one of the largest 
Russian paper producers and situated in 
Leningrad oblast made an unprecedented announcement. Non-use of little
 disturbed forest timber no is the part of PMP policy. 
New maps prepared by SEU BCC and Greenpeace indicating last European 
North Russia undisturbed valuable forest became
 the source of information and basis for such policy. For map compiling 
space photographs and field study results were used. 
The result is 20 000 ha of undisturbed forest indicated and mapped. 
"Our policy of non-use of valuable undisturbed forest timber would be impossible
 without this map, but today we can 
precisely point out to our suppliers areas we wish to preserve",
 said Reino Kotty, of Svetogorsk PMP. 
One should admit that significant progress was achieved since 1995, 
when the coalition of NGOs from Russia, Finland, 
Germany and other West-European countries, started work to prevent 
logging of old-growth forests in Karelia and other
North-West parts of Russia. Finally western consumers refused to buy
 the production of companies involved in old - growth 
destruction. Moratorium on possible old-growth areas was introduced,
and now forest inventory and protected areas
establishment negotiations are process is going on.

March 1, Apatity (Kola) - roundtable on nature conservation problems 
related to mining research was held between official 
Murmansk Committee on Geology, Murmansk and Kola geological expeditions
 representatives and NGOs - Ekonord 
Environmental Center, Geia, Kola Biodiversity Conservation Center 
and SEU Biodiversity Conservation Center.
This meeting was the first positive result of once endless NGO
efforts to start dialog with geologists on nature conservation 
problems, as it is well known that for Kola nature mining is much
bigger threat than logging.
The highest point of the conflict became one of the Finnish 
companies, Outkumpu, attempt to start mining research within the 
territory known as Lapland forest, which is a part of Green belt of
 Fennoscandia. This unique forest that has preserved its 
structure and is a habitat of endangered species was negotiated
for conservation between Murmansk and Finnish governments, 
and also is a part of logging moratorium.
Letter by NGOs sent to the Murmansk Administration pointed out 
that international NGO community action will be taken in 
order to preserve Lapland forest. It also contained proposal for a 
direct dialog during a meeting gathering all parties interested.
Administration preferred negotiations to warfare. Roundtable 
resulted into agreement on information exchange between parties
 interested. NGO will pass to Murmangeolkom maps of the most
valuable nature territories, while Murmangeolkon will inform
 NGOs about mining licensee issue plans for the coming 2 years.


The Udmurtia Ecological Union has supported lawsuit of the Tonkovo
 settlement against  the authorities and industry, 
violating their rights. The village inhabitants were to be resettled
 in year 1968, when the Heat Power Station was to be 
constructed. Despite the fact that all money needed for that was 
provided, people from the village saw none of it, staying 
in the palace that gradually became an industrial center.
The Ecological Union of  Udmurtia brought the case to court as
 a petitioner. Besides people resettlement the moral 
compensation for 30 year resettlement delay was requested.
In the Court the respondent industry representatives did not even 
deny that the money for resettlement had been received. 
The Court decision was that people should be resettled but
 the moral compensation had been denied. The main respondent, 
Udmurtenergo, was shameless enough to file the appeal arguing
 the court decision. The appeal was also filed on behalf of 
the petitioner, requesting the moral compensation.

After that Ecological Union of Udmurtia gathered 
Conference upon the results of the lawsuit. 
The main idea was to change the situation when almost
 uncontrolled state environmental agencies are the main environmental 
legislation violators.
The conference adopted address requesting the resign of 
current Udmurtia Minister of the nature resources and environmnet 
protection, Committee of the environment protection chair person,
 Main sanitary inspector and Environment protection prosecutor.
The Address also noted that entities living on taxpayers money 
are to protect taxpayers interests. Instead, taxpayers have 
sue these entities for the environmental legislation violation.

More than thousand citizens have signed this address already.

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