Socio-ecological Union

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

Moscow, Russia -- Issue 9(18) - special, April, 2001



  Nuclear lobby in Russia has made another attempt to take a revenge for its recent defeat. As you may know already, after the furious antinuclear protests that swept through the Russian cities and series of publications that uncovered lies and corruption in Russian Nuclear Ministry minister Yevgeny Adamov had to resign. Some environmentalists had their hopes for the new Minister Alexander Roumyantsev, who seemed to be more reasonable, to let trashing Russia with nuclear waste project die peacefully.
  However, recent developments cause serious doubts about that. Second Parliament hearings and voting are scheduled for April 11.
  Anyone in Russia knows that public environmental movement had key role in Adamov resignation and in turning public opinion against the project. To win the PR war, for nuclear lobby it was necessary to both show public environmental organization support for the project and to discredit the environmental movement in the eyes of common people. That is why on Saturday, April 7 a "sensation" was born - "public environmental organizations support spent nuclear fuel imports". The news were spread to NewsAgencies and published on Web-site, belonging to Kremlin chief PR specialist Pavlovsky.
  Closer examined, the sensation turned out to be letter by two organizations loyal to government, always at its service - Kedr and Russian Ecological Congress. However, in the PR reality, it is not the number that matters, but matters how you call it and how much you advertise it. This letter of 2 was to help Duma deputies to forget the letter of protest against nuclear waste import signed by 672 REAL public organizations, with SEU, Greenpeace Russia, WWF- Russian Program office among them. These two have a rather long history of creating environmental public participation visibility for the government. The most prominent show was attempt to create fake public environmental movement in Russia and to proclaim it one and only existing in Russia. That gathering on January 30 under the name of "First All-Russia Ecological Forum" was initiated by Presidents Administration and was held under the triple protection of police (they were expecting real public movement protests). The participants were 40 people, mostly scientists and and officials. Kedr and Russian Ecological Congress were representing visibility of public movement. None of other Eco-NGOs were invited, and the whole thing was kept secret. Kedr is a former political party, that was active only at the elections time, but invited by government to play public, calls itself now non-political movement. It plans to be very active in different international processes, especially at climate negotiations - so beware!
  Russian Ecological Congress is, in fact, a different name for Green Cross Russia. It is ill reputated for organizing flawed public hearings and reviews of the projects of chemical weapon demolishment. The Ecoforum was supposed to give "public environmental" permit for nuclear waste import, but at the time public and media was so outraged that they decided to do another PR-task - to prepare Russian Ecological Doctrine for Russian President visit at Rio+10.
  However, on April 7 they made another information strike in dirty nuclear waste war with that letter of nuclear waste import support.

  So if media will be writing that Russian NGOs want nuclear waste in the country - don't believe that.

  Its another lie.

  All these events, accidentally or not, have coincided with crisis around NTV - the only large independent TV channel. NTV was always on environment side, showing the dangers of nuclear waste import project.



Update to situation with the nuclear waste import' bill


  On December 21, 2000 Russian Duma (lower house of parliament) approved in first reading the bill allowing foreign nuclear waste to be imported for storage/reprocessing for commercial reasons. Active legislation bans the import of radioactive waste for storage or disposal in Russia. Over 40 protests took place all across Russia, about half of regional Dumas protested the import of waste with special decrees, but the bill is still on the agenda of State Duma.

  Second reading
  Russian Duma, lower house of parliament, has rescheduled second reading of the bill on April 11. Previosly, it was scheduled for Thursday, March 22. Originally, second reading was scheduled for February 22 but then postponed after the rally of environmental groups and liberal party Yabloko which protested in front of the Duma on February 19.

  Duma moves
  On March 20 there was a meeting in the Duma with liberals opposing the bill and group of atomic lobbyists including president of the Kurchatov Institute Velikhov and one of vice-ministers of atomic power. Liberal members of Duma were not convinced by pro-nuclear arguments and decided to vote against the bill on Thursday. Decision was made on the basis of corruption argument: according the statistics revealed by deputees, there was US$ 28 billions taken out of Russia illegally in 2000. "I can give you 100% guarantee that all profit from the import of nuclear waste will disappear", said Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of Yabloko liberal party.
  Earlier in March, inter-factional group opposing the waste import was established in the Duma, it included members of nearly all factions.

  Outside the Duma
  On March 19, one more regional Duma in Russia joined the opposition to the waste import. Environmental groups released the decree of Kaliningrad region' Duma demanding to stop the waste import bill and to not change present legislation (its ban for the spent fuel/waste import).
  Soon after the rally on February 19, two highly respected and well known Russian politicians voiced their opposition to the bill. Aman Tuleev, former communist leader and Kemerovo' governor, and Egor Stroev, chair at the federation council and Oryol governor, both said the waste import bill will work against the national security interests.
  Lack of Russian central media interest for the import of waste issue in January and February was replaced with great interest in March. Two most important political talk-shows in Russia, ORT channel' Times and NTV channel' Itogi, covered issue with environmental and economic critics. It was added by dozens of large newspapers' clips, 99% of it strongly criticized the import of waste. (1% is for the article by Vek (century) newspaper of Ministry of atomic power)
  Last week the first negative signal for the waste import plan came out of the government which supported the waste import in September 2000. Government representative in the Duma publically admitted it was a mistake that opponents of the waste import were not given an opportunity to speak up during the first reading of bill. Newspaper of the government "Rossiyskaya" published anti-nuclear interview of Aman Tuleev.
  Source in president Putin' administration told us last week, president would not like bill to be approved. Mr. Putin will veto it if necessary, but he would prefer it turned down by "others". After the report on corruption in Ministry of atomic power was released by the Duma' committee on corruption earlier in March, prosecutor general ordered an investigation into commercial activity of the minister Evgeny Adamov. It was reported that another criminal investigation launched on the topic of illegal tranfer of nuclear technology from Russia to Iran.
  Ministry of atomic power was accused last week by environmentalists through major newspapers for spending $ billions of taxpayers money for promoting the nuclear export in third countries. Critics said money will never come back.

  Update prepared by Vladimir Slivyak and Alisa Nikoulina.

  For more information contact:
Antinuclear Campaign at ECODEFENSE!/Socio-Ecological Union,
phone +7 (095) 7766281,7766546, 2784642

Controversial Russian Nuclear Minister Replaced

  France Press
  On March 28, 2001 President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday replaced his controversial nuclear energy minister Yevgeni Adamov, who has been accused by the Greenpeace environmental lobby of illegal nuclear deals. The anti-corruption committee of the Duma (lower house) in Moscow sent a report to the state attorney's office last month in connection with alleged illegal activities by Adamov, accusing him of having interests in at least 10 commercial enterprises in Russia and abroad.
  Adamov's replacement as nuclear energy minister is Alexander Rumyantsev, who since 1994 has been head of the Kurchatov Institute, Russia's main nuclear research establishment. Putin said Adamov had asked to be discharged from his duties as minister. Adamov had also come under fire from Russian environmentalists for seeking to import treated nuclear waste for storage. Last week the Duma postponed indefinitely a vote on the second reading of a bill to allow the import of nuclear waste. The appointment of a new nuclear energy minister was part of a government reshuffle for the first time since President Vladimir Putin came to power a year ago.

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