Arkhangelsk Protesting Against Garbage Once Again

Arkhangelsk Protesting Against Garbage Once Again


Last weekend, a single day of environmental protest actions was held in the Arkhangelsk region and some other regions. It was organized by activists of the Stop-Shiyes environmental association and We Live Here! civil movement.

Last weekend, environmental protest actions were held in townships of Yarensk and Kuloy in the Arkhangelsk region. A total of 1,000 people came together there to stand together. A larger act of protest took place in Arkhangelsk itself. A banner saying “Not a Ruble For Trash Mafia” was hanging above the stage. A similar action was held in Severodvinsk in the Arkhangelsk region. The protesters informed the reporters that the actions with a similar agenda were coordinated in more than 40 Russian cities. However, in most cases due to quarantine restrictions they had the format of one-person pickets.

According to Aleksandr Peskov, an organizer of the protest, the Stop-Shiyes environmental association was established in October last year. Since then seven protests have been held. In addition to environmental requirements, the association is eyeing participation in the Arkhangelsk region governor’s election, scheduled for autumn 2020. Moreover, nomination of the so-called “men of the people” has begun.

As one of them Sergey Ilyukhin stated, the situation in Shiyes, where a landfill site for garbage from Moscow was to be built according to earlier plans, has made the whole country join the environmental protests. Although the construction of the landfill site has been suspended, there is still a risk that this project will resume at any moment. The scheme of waste management in the region has been adopted without regard to public opinion. Under this plan, a total of 14 incineration plants will be built instead of facilities for sorting and recycling waste.

Anastasia Kochneva, a representative of the 42 environmental organization, stated at the meeting that Arkhangelsk is planning to remove containers for separate collection of garbage, which allowed to significantly reduce the amount of garbage delivered to landfills. “Government plans to introduce separate garbage collection are just words on paper,” she said.

The protesters demanded the resignation of Governor Igor Orlov. They accused him of lobbying for a garbage dump project in Shiyes. The signup of the demand for separate garbage collection was organized right by the stage. The organizers of the rally called for staying away from paying the fees for garbage collection in the Argakhangelsk region and even promised legal support to those who refuse to pay.

Alexander Peskov, the leader of the protest action, did not give the floor to Yury Chesnokov, representative of the Yabloko party, and Andrei Borovikov, an activist supporting Russia’s off-parliament opposition leader Alexei Navalny. In response, Borovikov and the following group started chanting “Give the floor!” Peskov asked the police to call the noisy residents to order. When law enforcement officers approached Borovikov's group together with Peskov. A scuffle broke out, and unknown people tried to prevent the policemen’s actions. At some point, the metal detector was almost dropped. The provocateurs were hauled off only with the help of additional support. There were no other people detrained at the rally.

An environmental protest action was also held in the Zelenodolsk district of the republic of Tatarstan. The protesters were against the construction of an incineration plant. They demanded that local authorities cancel the construction of the plant and prohibit construction of other facilities for incineration of garbage, as well as “legislatively introduce mandatory separate waste collection with separate collection of organic waste on the territory of the republic of Tatarstan and the entire Russian Federation.” The resolution also requires “prohibiting shops from providing “disposable” plastic bags free of charge.”

Another environmental rally against the construction of a landfill in Shiyes and for moving the city's gas filling station took place in Vologda.

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