Shies: Moscow’s “garbage” war

Garbage war. Investigation about the biggest landfill in Russia

Shies: Moscow's 'garbage' war

Shies: &# 171; trash can&# 187; Moscow war

Protests against the construction of a landfill for the burial of waste from the Russian capital continue in the Arkhangelsk region

MOSCOW – Who wants to have at their side perhaps the largest landfill in Europe?

This is the main question asked by protesters against the construction of a huge landfill in northern Russia, an environmental issue symbolizing growing discontent with Moscow’s dominance over Russian regions..

The conflict around Shies, a remote railway station in the Arkhangelsk region, began just over a year ago when local hunters stumbled upon a secret construction site in the swampy forests of the region..

It didn’t take local residents long to figure out the true purpose of the excavation – to place a 52 square kilometer waste storage facility here, which will be sent from Moscow, 1126 kilometers away..

Government officials said Shies was chosen because of its remoteness, and the new “ecotechnopark” should become a model for the application of advanced technologies in the field of waste storage.

They also point to financial and other incentives, including a computer lab, annual New Year gifts, and access to the best Moscow hospitals for local residents, as wise investments in regional development..

However, outrage over the construction of the landfill has brought together a wide variety of groups in northern Russia. Many of them see this as a threat to natural resources that determine the way of life in extreme climatic conditions..

“Of course we are against,” says builder Anton from Arkhangelsk, who traveled about 800 kilometers to join the camp..

“The swamps of this area feed the rivers that run through the entire region and flow into the White Sea. Poisoning Shies with garbage means poisoning the entire North, ”explains Anton, who refused to give his last name..

Anton is just one of hundreds of residents of the Russian North who have joined the protest movement that has been opposing the authorities for the past year over the construction of the landfill..

During this time, the “Republic of Shies” appeared next to the construction site – a tent community with its own anthem, flag, first-aid post, kitchen and bathhouse.

Although Republic even has a stage for concerts and announcements, this is not Woodstock. The camp’s rules include a complete ban on drugs and alcohol.

All participants pledged to take turns, despite the cold in winter and hordes of mosquitoes in summer, so that the protest continued..

“This is a real war,” says store owner Anna Shakalova, who has become one of the leaders of the movement. “And if we stick together, we will win this war.”.

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