A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists **

News in all languages
Last 40 posts (Homepage) Last two weeks' posts

The last 100 posts, according to language
Castellano_ Català_ Deutsch_ Nederlands_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Polski_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Türkçe_ The.Supplement
First few lines of all posts of last 24 hours || of past 30 days | of 2002 | of 2003 | of 2004

Syndication Of A-Infos - including RDF | How to Syndicate A-Infos
Subscribe to the a-infos newsgroups
{Info on A-Infos}

(en) Russia, Radical ecological protest campaign in Perm Update

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 15 Jul 2004 17:10:00 +0200 (CEST)


________________________________________________
A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html
________________________________________________

Tomorrow, 16th of July protest camp organised by various local and
nationwide anarchist and ecological groups in Perm turns to its third
week. Although few people may stay in camp more than few days or one week,
every day there have been 20-30 participators in the camp. Only mass
meeting organised this far gathered 300 people in Zakamsk suburb of 100
000 inhabitants Friday 9th of July, hardly an uprising but still numbers
unusually big for the area.
Background of the problem
In accordance with international disarmament treaties, Russia has to build
certain amount of factories to dismantle old missile engines and their
fuel, in practice this is done with American technology and money. Not
that we have anything against disarmament, but this must be done taking
into account health and welfare of local people, which currently seem to
have no any value whatsoever to military-industrial complex. 3 years ago
in Votkinsk, they failed in an attempt, to build missile dismantling plant
8 kilometres from a city with 100 000 inhabitants, this time, according to
plans, a similar extremely dangerous object is planned to be located right
into 100 000 inhabitant suburb of a city with more than one million
inhabitants! Officially, no one admits that project in Perm will replace
Votkinsk project, which is currently freezed. In practice, missiles
planned to be dismantled in Perm are the same which were planned to be
dismantled in Votkinsk. Actually this is already 3rd round of the fight,
Votkinsk factory was originally planned to be located to Perm, but in late
nineties these plans had to be cancelled due to local protests!

FGUP Perm Factory Mashinostroitel has been given a license to be leading
company in Russia in field of dismantling missiles using solid fuel, most
importantly SS-22 “Scalpel” missiles which have flight radius of 10 000
kilometres and each of which may carry 20 nuclear warheads of 550 kilotons
(46 times Hiroshima bomb). Missiles to be dismantled do not have nuclear
warheads anymore, and although missile corpuses are also slightly
radioactive main problem is the extremely poisonous fuel they are loaded
with. They plan to build a site inside factory of S.M. Kirov, which
currently both builds and tests engines of strategic missiles.
Mashinostroitel decided to fulfil its task with means of anti-ecological
direct action, considering necessary permissions and environmental impact
assesments as a waste of time.

American funding, given in the framework of 13-year-old Lugar-Nunn
legislation is very crucial for realisation of the project. Actually
regional powers have already wasted lions share of the money given 7 years
ago already, and currently social budget has to be shrinked in order to
have project finally realised and not to have Americans asking to whose
pocket this money ended up back then. Money is channeled through
transnational Washington Group International (http://www.wgint.com/). They
are a huge corporation, operating in more than 30 countries with 26000
employers. American Congressman Richard Lugar himself visited Perm last
autumn.

An unofficial enviromental impact assesment by NGO's and scientists was
done to one of the 7 objects which are included to project, a corpus for
heat neutralising of solid waste was examined. Experts from Perm and all
over Russia considered this object extremely dangerous and appealed
against its construction - however, construction is still going on.
Company claims construction has been halted, but local people have
reported that everything is following schedule.

Soon after finishing first expertise, officials realised that doing bogus
enviromental impact assesments would be a better alternative than giving
ecologists free hands to do their expertises.
So in April, ecologists learned that a more important part of the project,
store of missiles waiting to be dismantled was made and enviromental
impact assesment with conclusions to give green light for the
construction. This expertise was done in Moscow, by specialists who were
less qualified than those who did the first one. After big difficulties,
ecologists managed to receive documentation of the latter “expertise”, and
countless mistakes make it illegal and invalid. This “assesment” did not
even included analyse on possible risks to surrounding enviroment, for
example in case of a missile fuel explosion during time of storage.

Dismantling missiles having solid fuel happens in temperature of 3500
degrees of Celsius, according to Russian and American specialists
poisonous dioxins will form in cooling stream of gas during the process.
Even smallest doses of dioxins are poisonous; they easily accumulate in
food chain, hurt embryos and cause cancer. They are chemically stable, and
stay lethally dangerous during several decades. Technology for safe
utilisation of missile engines using solid fuels just does not exist.

Goal of the protest camp is a total revoke of criminal program to utilise
rocket engines and their fuel in Perm. Protest camp will last until
decisive victory, or at least until beginning of the September.

Research on attitudes of Perm inhabitants to missile dismantling

Already during first two weeks of June anarchists conducted a research on
attitudes of Perm inhabitants towards missile dismantling project. This
was first ever, somewhat experimental attempt in former Soviet Union to
put radical ecological protest campaign on “scientific foundation”.
Besides curiosity, purpose of the research was also to attract interest of
the media. Although research was conducted by anarchists, it attempted to
be as objective as possible and was formally done under cover of Institute
of Sociology of Russian Academy of Sciences.

Research was conducted by telephone; alltogether 1200 people were called.
Those who answered negatively to first question “Have you heard about
missile dismantling in Zakamsk”, or refused to answer to question, were
not further questioned. Only 397 among questioned answered positively,
which for sure gave a bias in favour of politically conscious people.
Distribution of social status among sample fit pretty well with
characteristics of the general population, only students were strongly
over-represented (8.1% among questioned, whereas in general population
they are only 4.6%). Most of the questions were open, since open questions
tend to manipulate respondents less than closed ones.

Research involved questions on awareness of people on missile dismantling,
on attitude towards missile dismantling, on priorization of different
problems of the city in general, on awareness about activities of
organisations and prepareness to participate to protest actions. Zakamsk
inhabitants, where Kirov factory complex where dismantling is planned to
be organised is located, were consciously over-represented in research,
but their attitudes on dismantling in general did not differ from main
population although they were more aware of the project and their opinions
more polarized. This because some of the few who will benefit financially
because of the project are living in Zakamsk themselves. 63.2% of the
called Zakamsk inhabitants positively to first question, whereas from rest
of the Perm only 24%. Whole Zakamsk suburb was built to serve Kirov and
neighbouring factories, and many people have first-hand experience from
dismantling, since factory still produces ballistic missiles and those
with defects are currently burned inside factory.

78.6% answered that they attitude to missile dismantling is “negative” or
“very negative”,
13.1% anwered that their attitude is neutral and only 5% considered
project as “positive” or “very positive”. 82.6% of respondents considered
dismantling as harmful to environment (4.5% as not harmful), 78.8%
considered dismantling as harmful to health (8.1% as not harmful), 37.5%
believed that dismantling will create new workplaces (30.0% believed that
it won’t) and 19.9% believed that financial gains from the project will
help to solve social problems of the city (45.8% did not accepted this
claim). Inhabitants of Zakamsk suburb were even more sceptical towards
claims about positive effects of the project than rest of the inhabitants.

When respondents were asked to choice from four possible answers to
question “which among next claims best of all describes your attitude
towards dismantling of the missiles”, 2.3% answered “it is necessary to
dismantle rockets, even if this has negative effects to Perm inhabitants”,
37.8% answered that “dismantling should be started only when there are
safe technologies to do it”, 53.9% answered “dismantling should be moved
to a safe distance from Perm” and 4.6% answered “let them do what they
want, I do not care”.

According to research, 28% of the respondents considered “bad roads” to be
among three most urgent problems of the city, followed by “ecological
problems” (25%), “dirt and trashes in the streets” (14.9%), “low quality,
high costs of municipal services” (13.6%), “unemployment” (13.4%), bad
transport system (12.6%), “social-economical problems, low quality of
life” (12.1%) and “crime” (11.3%). Alltogether people named 98 different.
During last 15 years, ecological problems have been among main catalysts
of social movements and according to this research, they still have not
lost their relevance among minds of the public.

Although 46.9% of Perm inhabitants announced that they have heard about
activities of ecological movement, only 4.5% could name some ecological
organisations. Most known was local Anarcho-Ecological Resistance (8
persons, 2%), followed by abstract “greens” (4 persons) and “anarchists”
(2 persons), several NGO’s were named by individual persons. 52.4%
answered that they would like to participate to protest campaign against
missile dismantling, but among them 39.9% could not specify their
preferred form of action. 33.8% preferred participation to a
demonstration, picket or a meeting, 18.3% to subscribing a petition. All
respondents were asked if they could subscribe a petition, 79.8% would
have agreed and 9.8% would have disagreed. 46.3% could have participated
to a meeting, and 17.4% could have participated to a protest camp.

First two weeks of the protest camp

Protest camp launched officially 2nd of July in Kirov district, where
Zakamsk suburb is located. Camp was set up by Autonomous Action,
Anarcho-Ecological Resistance, Union for Chemical Safety and Yekaterinburg
Movement Against Violence. Soon members of Rainbow Keepers who joined the
camp decided that Rainbow Keepers should be listed among camp organisers
as well. Camp is located next to huge Kirov factory complex, in area where
people have public gardens, which are crucial for low-income people to
survive. Kirov factory is surrounded with a wall and three rounds of
barbed wire, between which armed conscripts are patrolling. Campers have a
small picket during 5-6 hours every day in front of movie theater Ekran in
center of Zakamsk, in order to raise awareness about the problem and to
gather food and money donations for the camp. Due to donations, there has
not yet been need to buy food for the camp. During first two weeks of the
camp, activists of Russian indymedia and indyvideo also visited the camp;
perm.indymedia.org is result of their efforts. Hopefully local activists
will further maintain it. Indymedia activists also organised movie
screenings and training on video activism.

Yet camp has faced almost no repression, only few calls by municipal
officials (sometimes presenting themselves as outdoor advertisement
agencies or anonymous) demanding to clean area from posters inviting
inhabitants to meetings of 9th July and 16th of July. 5th of July Vladimir
Anatolevich Lukyanenko from municipal administration threated to halt
electrity, water and gas supply of the camp unless posters are removed,
not figuring out that camp has not electricity, water or gas supply in the
first place. Soldiers also visited camp during first days.

6th of July vice-chief of State Administration of Nature Resources of Perm
oblast Dmitry Klein finally agreed to pass to campaigners documents about
decision to halt construction of closed burning rack for dismantling
missiles, which should be accompanied with stove and storage for hazardous
waste. This was after 5 months of struggle and threats to sue Klein to
court. According to oral statements of anonymous supporters of protesters
who are working inside Kirov factory complex, construction of these
objects is still going on, and as a matter of fact burning rack is almost
finished already. Since Kirov factory complex is a high-security military
object, no participator of campaign has ever been allowed to check if
decisions of Administration of Nature Resources are followed, and struggle
for openess of information is as crucial as the question about missile
dismantling in general. These documents have been scanned and uploaded to
Perm campaign indymedia, perm.indymedia.org.

9th of July, camp participators and 300 Zakamsk inhabitants gathered in
front of movie theater Ekran in center of Zakamsk suburb, agreeing to make
an ultimatum to powers of all levels. Speakers included ecological
experts, inhabitants of Zakamsk suburb and former workers of
Mashinostroitel and Scientific Institute of Polymeric Materials, both of
whom are located inside Kirov factory complex and are participating to
missile dismantling project. Perm mayor Arkadi Kamenev and Oleg Chirkunov,
which works as temporary Perm oblast governor now when Putin invited
former governor and formerly anti-missile Trutnev to be minister of nature
resources in his new cabinet, were invited but they did not appear.

In case of refusal to fulfill ultimatum, that means, if governor of Perm
oblast O. Chirkunov, governor of Perm A. Kamenev, directors of NPO Iskra,
Mashinostroitel and Scientific Institute of Polymeric Materials do not
give documents that prove that project of deconstruction of solid fuel
ballistic missiles in Perm area is halted, participators of the protest
camp declared that they will rely on more radical methods. Participators
promised to wait reply until 16th of July. Meeting was finished with a
non-legalised march by streets of Zakamsk from movie theater Ekran to
dislocation of protest camp in front of walls of Kirov factory.
Demonstrators scanned “No to missiles!”, “Give us Trutnev to be
dismantled!”, “Missiles away from Perm!”, “Petrovich made a good deal,
Zakamsk will turn to a huge morgue!” and “Resistance or death!”. Before
meeting, Kirov factory walls were sprayed with slogans “No to missiles!”,
“Dismantle Trutnev!”, “Rights are not given, rights are taken!” and others
to raise spirits of protesters. During next week, Perm center got its
share of protests, when “No to missiles”, “Limousines – to deputies,
dioxines – to Perm inhabitants” and other slogans were sprayed around
administrative buildings in the center of the city. A banner “3 days are
remaining” (to fulfill our ultimatum) was raised outside parliament of
Perm Oblast in Tuesday 13th of July.

14th of July participators of the protest camp organised a performance in
front of Perm oblast administration. For a moment, square in front of the
administrative building transformed into a scene of epic battle between
good and evil, more exactly, between nature and dangerous factory. Dance
of flowers, accompanied by smooth pop music, was disturbed by appearance
of Bush and Perm oblast governor Chirkunov. Chirkunov was begging money
from Bush, and having already received a pile of green dollars, kept
demanding more and more. Soon workers brought in a “missile dismantling
factory” with sign of chemical hazard, and Chirkunov set a missile on fire
in the factory. Square was filled with smoke, and rather symbolic “nature”
was coughing and died, while Bush was convincing everybody about safety of
the project. Upcoming chair of the current governor, looking to be elected
in autumn of 2005, was built on carcass of the nature.

In the evening of 14th of July camp participators and Zakamsk inhabitants
got an urgent reminder why project of missile dismantling is so dangerous.
A wagon of a train carrying hydrochlorig acid dropped from rails only 400
meters from dislocation of the protest camp. Although this particular
train was not going to Kirov but to neighbouring factory complex, the very
same rails which are in a horrible condition are to be used for carrying
dangerous missiles to Kirov factory, in case dismantling project is to be
realised. Pictures of the accident are soon available in
perm.indymedia.org.

Contact of the protest camp:
Lager_perm-A-mail.ru
Perm.indymedia.ru
+7-922 242 78 00


*******
********
****** The A-Infos News Service ******
News about and of interest to anarchists
******
INFO: http://ainfos.ca/org http://ainfos.ca/org/faq.html
HELP: a-infos-org@ainfos.ca
SUBSCRIPTION: send mail to lists@ainfos.ca with command in
body of mail "subscribe (or unsubscribe) listname your@address".

Options for all lists at http://www.ainfos.ca/options.html


A-Infos Information Center