Socio-ecological Union
News

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

Moscow, Russia -- Issue 7-8(06), July/August, 1999


IN THIS ISSUE:
 

FAR EAST SEAS IN COURT

SAVE SAMARSKAYA LUKA CAMPAIGN

KASIMOV CASE STILL OPEN

MOX PROTEST CAMP NEAR VORONEZH

NUCLEAR WASTE TRANSIT STOPPED BY JOINT EFFORTS

ANTINUCLEAR LEADER HARASSED

NEWS IN BRIEF

BLACK SEA NEEDS YOUR HELP NOW!!!!

NEW MEMBERS


FAR EAST SEAS IN COURT

  The Russian Far East seas may become victims of oil multinationals. Instead of law enforcement, country and people interest protection, Russian Government made another oncession to the multinationals. On July 15 Government illegally adopted ruling "On temporary order of the test drillings of the marine oil, gas and concentrated gas deposits within the Russian Far East region". This ruling, adopted without mandatory environmental review and public participation, allows discharge of the wastewaters and drilling solvents into all Far East seas without screening.
  On August 16 the first legal action was taken to protect the Far East Seas. "Ecojuris" Institute (lawyers for environment) and 30 regional, national and international NGOs filed an appeal to the Supreme Court demanding to abolish the ruling.
  The Far East shelf with its oil deposits has been a desire object for oil companies. At the same time, the Far East has the richest fisheries of the country - around 90% of seafood supply come from these seas. These seas are also the main sustenance source for different indigenous groups. According to the RF Constitution, the Far East marine aquatory should be protected as the living source of the whole region. It has also been proven that oil drilling in the fish-rich seas is not profitable for the country that owns the territory - as it looses it's renewable resources (fish and other marine animals and plants). Oil drilling in the sea is profitable only for the multinationals, which, in their pursue for profits, use every chance to lower their costs - on expense of nature and local people.
  Russian Government has already allowed oil drilling at the Sakhalin shelf. The "Sakhalin Energy" - the drilling company - made a gorgeous celebration of the "first oil" in spring... Few months later, on September 28, first serious oil spill was discovered. More disasters are on their way, if not stopped by joint public attempts.

***

  Later we received news about the first success - on September 28 The Supreme court found illegal and thus not applicable the ruling "On temporary order of the test drillings of the marine oil, gas and concentrated gas deposits within the Russian Far East region".


SAVE SAMARSKAYA LUKA CAMPAIGN

  (by radical environmental and cultural center Duplo)
  National park "Samarskaya Luka" is a unique natural complex, which is situated on the territory of Samara region. It is a habitat of rare animal and plant species. Nowadays those who are responsible for taking care of and preserving this unique place are destroying it for their own personal needs. Illegal hunting and fishing has been going on here for decades covered by the park rangers and park administration who actually live off this trade.
  Since 1997 a group of activists has been struggling to stop poaching in the area. After appeals to the local and area authorities to punish the poachers ecologists decided to act on their own. Several of them were threatened and assaulted by the local gangs controlled by the park authorities. Three ecologists got arrested at an attempt to blow up one of the dams.
  This summer radical environmental movement "Rainbow Keepers" and cultural center "Duplo" opened the protest camp on the territory of the park to take actions against poachers and to draw public attention to the problem.
  Through July and August number of actions on dam destruction were taken by the campers. The actions several times resulted into clashes with national park employees - owners of the poaching devices. The protesters actions were legal, according to the Russian legislation. It says that "any action might be taken to restore the law as soon as it does not cause physical harm to other people". However, local militia preferred to side with the poachers.
  On July 22, 1999 at 3 p.m. four activists of the protest camp at Samarskaya Luka were illegally arrested and brought to Rozhdestveno police department. One of them, A. A. Dorovskikh, was kept there for 6 hours and beaten by the police officer. This way the officer was trying to get information about participants of taking off the lock on Orekhovskaya dam. On the next day Dorovskikh had to turn to one of the city hospitals for medical help. He was hospitalized with the broken tympanic membrane of the left ear.
  On August 23 activists picketed Samara regional environmental prosecutors office. The first attempt to pass appeal on situation in Samarskaya Luka to prosecutor was not successful - activists were told that prosecutor was not at his work place. After 2 hours of picketing it suddenly turned out that the prosecutor is in the building and was ready to meet the activists on the condition that no journalists would be witnessing the meeting. He took the appeal promising to resolve the situation.


KASIMOV CASE STILL OPEN

  The SEU Times has reported about the successful case against non-ferrous metal waste recycling facility near Kasimov. Despite the court decision, the plant "Roskontakt", owned by "Krotbers" company, continued the construction of the facilities. This made the radical movement "Rainbow Keepers" continue the protest campaign. Through August they held a protest camp near the plant, demanding to shut down the dangerous processing facility, and destruction of the illegally constructed facilities.
  The camp gathered at least 70 people from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Czech Republic, Germany and Finland.
  The protesters were continuously harassed by the plant security, while local militia (police), was intentionally inactive. The local Administration head supported the harassment.
  On August 5, shortly after the camp was set, 10 people in camouflage, one of them later recognized as plant security, drove to the camp in two trucks and, using violence, kidnapped 15 camp participants and stole different camp belongings. Then they drove 40 km away to the forest, where campers were beaten and received death threats, many papers concerning the case and other "RK" work were stolen, films shot were taken away. The mobsters also poured out all the water that protesters had and then drove away, leaving 15 beaten people in unknown forest.
  But the camp continued its work, and on August 6 it was attacked twice. During the first attack mobsters again were truing to "deport" environmentalists, but did not succeed. Then they came back (at least 20 men), carrying bats, beaten several camp participants. Then they poured gasoline on the tents, personal belongings and food and set the camp on fire. During the attack gangsters boasted that they will go on unpunished, as the might plant owner, Natalya Suchkova, will get them out of any trouble.
  On August 7 the "mighty plant owner" Suchkova arrived to the camp and promised to burn the camp down with its participants. Then she left and made an attempt to bring up action against protesters, but did not succeed. Obviously, she did not even have the legal papers for the land that she claimed as her property.
  Local people, being supportive of protesters, decided to guard the camp and the protesters form the further harassment.
  At the same time, the local Administration was using the papers stolen from the camp to defame the protesters. Combining different "Rainbow Keepers" program papers, local authorities clamed that campers were agents of the foreign intelligence service, preparing local turnover, which should result into turning the Ryazan region into the Netherlands kingdom province. Kasimov head Yepifanov repeated the same accusations when the "Keepers" came to obtain the permission for demonstration. To support his words Yepifanov showed papers that were stolen 10 days ago by mobsters.
  The situation in Kasimov is still unsolved, with local people and environmentalists on one side, and corrupted officials and criminalized businessmen on the other.

***

  The "Rainbow Keepers" will continue their work no matter what. Year ago they have established community "The Kasimov Alternative" in the nearby village. First it was only one house, restored from the poor condition by the community members. Through the last year they have held several events on alternative environmental lifestyle and culture. Now they have bought and restored another house. We promise to tell you more about "The Kasimov Alternative" in the next issues.


MOX PROTEST CAMP NEAR VORONEZH

  (By the SEU Antinuclear campaign)
  The Antinuclear camp was established on August 17 near Novoronezh nuclear plant by more than 50 antinuclear activists from Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Finland, Great Britain and other countries. It was sponsored by the ECODEFENSE! and Antinuclear campaign of the Socio-Ecological Union. Camp demanded from local authorities to introduce the ban for loading of MOX fuel into reactors of Novovoronezh NPP, also to introduce moratorium for the construction of new reactors. Another demand of the camp was to shut down the old reactors' in 2 years.
  August 17-18
  The MVD (police) and FSB (former KGB) officials had been watching the camp from the very first days. They claimed that the ecologists should leave a 5-kilometers zone around NPP because it is a "territory of strong regime". The police had established special post near the camp for watching camp 24-hours a day.
  In spite of everything, even a veteran of AES, a trade union member who worked at AES for more than 30 years has expressed a solidarity with the ecologists' demands.
  August 20-24
  A number of camp participants moved to Voronezh-city to collect the signatures under an appeal to the regional parliament deputies. One of the Antinuclear camp's aims was to collect more local citizens' signatures under an appeal containing a request to forbid the MOX fuel import into Voronezh region. During first 1,5 hours they have collected more than 300 signatures.
  On August 24 the camp participants held a press conference in Voronezh, city with over million population, home of the oldest nuclear plant in Russia.
  "Specialists of the Novovoronezh nuclear plant and Russian nuclear inspectorate (GAN) aren't sure about technical competence of the Russian ministry of atomic power", said Vladimir Slivyak and Alisa Nikoulina of the Antinuclear camp near Novovoronezh NPP at the press-conference. In support they quoted the NPP and GAN representatives:
  "You can try to load MOX fuel into Novovoronezh 5, but then I wouldn't suggest to start this unit up," said Alexandr Krutskih, director of the technical department of GAN at the Novovoronezh NPP when visited camp to talk with activists on August 19.
  "Plutonium (MOX) fuel may not be loaded into unit 5 of my nuclear plant because the reactor was made not for this kind of fuel," said director of the Novovoronezh NPP in the interview to "Molodoy Kommunar" newspaper in Voronezh on August 17.
  Activists also reminded the history of the problem:
  In 1996 Russia Minatom and US DoE released the report for two presidents in which both agencies suggested to fabricate so-called MOX fuel (mixed oxides of uranium and plutonium) with weapon-grade plutonium. This report suggest to load unit 5 of the Novovoronezh NPP with MOX fuel.
  "MOX program of Minatom is extremely dangerous as from economical as from environmental point of view and even experts of the nuclear industry reject this program", said Vladimir Slivyak.
  August 25
  The antinuclear protest near the governor's office resulted into arrest of more than 20 activists.


NUCLEAR WASTE TRANSIT STOPPED BY JOINT EFFORTS

  (By SEU Antinuclear campaign)
  International protest campaign organized by SEU Antinuclear campaign, Moldova NGO Biotica, Bulgarian NGO Za Zemiata and Russian NGO ECODEFENSE! once again stopped nuclear waste transport from Bulgarian NPP Kozlodui to Russia.
  On July 8, 1999 the Parliament of Moldova moved to postpone until October 1999 a vote on ratification of the joint agreement on nuclear spent fuel transport between Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Moldova. Moldova's participation in this agreement was essential for Bulgaria to be able to ship spent nuclear fuel by rail to Russia for storage and reprocessing, which also required passage through Romania and Ukraine. Nine months ago, all transfers of nuclear waste from the Kozloduy reactors to Russia were suspended because Moldova's parliament would not yet ratify the agreement. The plenary of the parliament on the July 8 again delayed the Bulgarian nuclear industry from getting a green light to move forward with these plans.
  "Nuclear transportation continues to be a topic of great public concern. It's extremely dangerous and will waste considerable amounts of money", said Vladimir Slivyak of Socio-Ecological Union and Polina Kireva of Za Zemiata, a Bulgarian environmental group. Both groups began their campaign against these nuclear waste transfers in September 1998. Since that time, public protests in several Central and Eastern Europe countries and opposition in the Moldovian parliament have twice forced Bulgarian authorities to cancel scheduled nuclear waste shipments.
  In late June Russian and Bulgarian environmentalists again asked their colleagues worldwide to send faxes to Moldova's President, Prime Minister and Chair of parliament asking them not to ratify the agreement. According to the Greens in the Moldovan parliament, the international fax campaign made a great impact on the July 8 parliamentary decision.
  "The decision allows us to mark the first anniversary of a successful resistance to nuclear transport in Bulgaria, Russia and Moldova," said Slivyak and Kireva. "We intend to continue with this campaign until we obtain a political decision to indefinitely suspend all such transport. Nuclear power plants should implement a policy of using dry on-site storage of spent fuel instead of sending this radioactive garbage to its neighbors."

  For more information:
  Antinuclear campaign of Socio-Ecological Union
  anc@ecoline.ru

  Za Zemiata! - 359-2-9633125 (Sofia, Bulgaria)
  ECODEFENSE! - 7-0112-437286 (Kaliningrad, Russia)


ANTINUCLEAR LEADER HARASSED


  On September 7 people from Moscow Criminal Investigation Department (MUR) captured Vladimir Slivyak, Director of Antinuclear campaign of Socio-Ecological Union (SEU). The formal reason for the arrest was documents control, while the real reasons were investigation actions within Manezh square explosion suit. People in civilian stopped the activist of environmental movement when he was going out of his house; they refused to introduce themselves and to explain the reason of the arrest. After documents control and numerous questions about Slivyak's job, environmental organizations and environmental movement in general, senior lieutenant of MUR 6th department A.S. Kosterov (the only person whose documents were possible to look at) stated that he "deals with terrorists" including investigation of circumstances of the explosion at Manezh square. At the place of detention Kosterov took a package with marijuana and threatened to "find it in the bag" of the Director of Antinuclear campaign if he does not facilitate actively enough "the course of the investigation".


NEW BULLETIN


  The Sacred Earth Network started a new project - "Ecological Design" bulletin. According to the project coordinator Bogdan Popov, humankind has all means to develop its further living within accordance to ecosystem functioning. The problem that still needs to be solved is the lack of information about these means. The Ecodisaign bulleting is supposed to deliver information referring to the environment - friendly building, permaculture, transportation etc to the communities. First the bulletin will be published monthly through e-mail, but the hard copy is also planned.
  The editorial board is eagerly waiting for articles and suggestions from the international community.

  For more information:
  dancho@pcukr.kiev.ua

  TOMSK
  The Environmental Inspector's School was held in August by the Tomsk Ecological Student Inspection. It gathered more than 50 representatives of Druzhina for Nature Protection Movement from different parts of Russia. The School included lectures and practice lead by experts.
  The young environmentalists were trained in hunting and fishing inspection, forest protection, water use inspection, protected territories control and monitoring, radiology safety, environmental management.

  BELARUS
  In Belarus participants of the "Earth Children'99" expedition addressed the President of the republic. They demanded to speed up the establishment of the once-planned protected areas. The expedition, organized by the BelSEU Bobruisk affiliate, found that so far no work to establish the planed Svisloch-Berezin nature park was done. On contrary, significant clear cut loggings were planned and carried out.

  TADJIKISTAN
  In Tadjikistan environmental coalition of different organizations has celebrated its first year. The coalition brought together Dushanbe Youth Environmental Center, Humanitarian-rehabilitation Center "Odamiat", Scientific and Pedagogical Society, Women organization "Mekhringez", Khatlon project on women's health and the farm association "Angubin". Today the coalitions joint activities are aimed on a world popular region of Fan Mountains in the central Tadjikistan. Within the project framework the bakery, village store and other facilities are built. With a Chrisitan Aid sponsorship local women receive loans for souvenir production.
  The EcoCenter together with Tadjikistan Forest Management Agency has prepared project for redesigning of the local nature park into Fan National Park. The local business development within the area promoted support for the idea by local population.

  KAZAKHSTAN
  The Kazakstan NGOs - participants of the "Public access to the information on radiological safety through NGOs" addressed the Prime Minister of the Republic, the Environmental Ministry and the Parliament. They requested to take efficient measures to collect and store the so-called Ampoule Ionizing Radiation Sources. The AIRS are used for different measuring devices in many fields. The used devices should be collected and stored safely. Unfortunately, the complicated financial situation within the republic led to the bankruptcy or liquidation of many enterprises that used such devices. Thus AIRS are stored in unsafe conditions, lost or even stolen. Then they show up in the villages, there were cases when kids found AIRS and played with them.


BLACK SEA NEEDS YOUR HELP NOW

  Below is another story about the disaster on the Black Sea coast. This disaster is caused by the greed of oil multinationals and corrupted officials. It is the Caspian Pipeline Consortium construction. We just received extremely bad news - Valery Timoshchenko from Novorossiisk told us that the CPC are trying to start the construction works on the sea bottom. This means DEATH to the unique and fragile marine ecosystem of the place. This means that no time is left, and the Black Sea needs your help NOW!

***

  I am sitting in the car trying to clean the dust off the lens of my camera. It seems to be everywhere - just like sand in the desert. The place we've been filming does look like some combination of desert and battlefield. The casualties - once magnificent ancient junipers and pistachios - are piled up and small tornadoes of dust are sweeping over the naked land. The thin layer of soil was torn off together with the trees that were keeping it, and now there is only yellow clay left, reminding of the dead moon surface. This is a CPC logging and construction site, where vast area of old-growth juniper forests was cleared off. This is how the first CPC construction stage cheerfully reported by Chevron as "completed" looks like.
  YOU CAN READ THE FULL STORY (IN ENGLISH) AND SEE THE PHOTOS AT
  http://www.ecoline.ru/forest-club/reports/ktk-e.htm

  Please distribute the information as widely as possible!
  If you have any other ideas of how to stop the CPC please tell us! We have large number of photos picturing the destruction and the beauty of nature and footage in Hi8 format. We can send the photos on request in small previews.

  You can send your protests to :
  Novorossiisk mayor Valery Prokhorenko:
  fax +7 (8617) 25-0998
  Krasnodar region governor Nikolay Kondratenko:
  fax +7 (8612) 68-3542


NEW MEMBERS

  Fortunately, we also have some good news - we have a new member in our community. Please, give a warm welcome to Amigos de Los Monegros (Friends of Los Monegros)
  The main activities, as defined by the organization are:
  Collection of information about the Fauna and the Flora of Los Monegros.
  Publication of the study results in local and international mass media.
  Educational activities in Los Monegros region among children and local public with purpose to demonstrate ecological value of the region.
  During several years Javier Blasco-Zumeta (Amigos de Los Monegros leader) and group of interested people, which are now presenting the core of the organization, with help of specialists have prepared the inventory of the biocenose of Los Monegros region since it is going to be destroyed by built irrigation system. Results are very interesting: discovery in the region more than 100 unknown before species and links between and steppes of the Central Asia and the Middle East.
  Results of the study are presented in many publications (relevant information can be found on the web page http://members. xoom.com/monegros). But people in the region do not understand the steppe area is important and unique for whole Europe. Therefore the main task for the moment is to rise the public consciousness and organize public participation in protection of Los Monegros.


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