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“Our native lands are being transformed into an industrial area…”
SAVEPECHORA > Мероприятия и акции
“Our native lands are being transformed into an industrial area…”  
[16 марта 2018г. в 13:16]
The protest meeting against exterminative deforestation in the floodplain of the Pechora river, oil contamination of rivers and air pollution by a license-holder OOO “Lukoil - Komi” as well as against attempts of the local authorities to abolish obligation to learn national Komi language took place in the village Novikbozh, Usinsk District, on the 11th of March.

“It is not frost that is scaring us but an outrage! - ” that was the motto of the 80 locals who took to the streets when it was -15°C outside. There were lots of people willing to speak out – they couldn’t stand that anymore. One after another inhabitants of Novikbozh and Ust-Usa took the floor.

Valentina Philippova, Nikolay Fyodorov, Valeriy Bratenkov, Vladimir Istomin, Valeriy Popov, Galina Chuprova were talking about the facts that “…cutting down carried out for seismic exploration has reached our beloved lands of berrying and mushroom picking, our hayland” as well as “…drilling and blasting operations are being conducted right at the cemetery in Ust-Usa”, “and people are not allowed to enter the cultural centre without permission from the town administration of Usinsk – have a meeting outside when it’s so cold!”.

Valeriy Bratenkov gave an example of the violations committed during the seismic exploration. The Russian Federal Fisheries Agency when agreeing the project of the seismic exploration has prescribed to have clearings of the width no more than one meter in water preserved zones and the floodplain of the river – this would ensure minimal damage to bioresources of the river. In practice these clearings exceed 4 meters so the actions of exploration seismologists have crudely violated the agreed project arrangements.

The speakers of the meeting mentioned that the workers of the seismic exploration offended the native people who were trying to monitor the situation. For instance they name the locals alcoholics and openly proclaim their viewpoint of no confrontation from the locals’ side.
– Our valuable subtundra forests are being rudely cut over, - people said. – The places we live in are being transformed into an industrial area! How can we stay calm and do nothing?!

The speeches were emotional; sometimes it ended in tears – the people did realize how defenseless they were under pressure of the oil company because representatives of authorities were taking it slow to protect their citizens. The only way is to protect on our own, stand up for ourselves, for our children’s future. The issue of saving the native Komi language was brought up for the discussion for the second time. Unfortunately the ill-fated order from the minister Mikhalchenkova on free option to teach the Komi language in schools has not been cancelled yet; it means the problem is still pressing.

The participants of the meeting have adopted a resolution. The text is given below.


1. We require to stop immediately any further prospecting and exploration operations in the floodplain of the Pechora river and its confluents. The operations in question will inevitably cause further decline of the environmental state of the villages near the Pechora river, degradation of hunting areas, depletion of fish resources, and a probable loss of indigenous environment and crafts of our ancestors for the future generations.

2. We require to bring the cultural center and the leisure center back to citizens of Novikbozh and Ust-Usa to meet and have events not by command of the administration of Usinsk but by the citizens’ wish and choice.

3. We require to install gas detectors for environmental monitoring in Novikbozh and Ust-Usa because these places have been turned into an industrial area of OOO “Lukoil - Komi”.

4. We ask the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency to conduct damage assessment which could appear in connection with the fact that the actions of the workers of the seismic exploration (clearings wider than 4 meters instead of 1 meter in water preserved zones and a floodplain) do not meet the requirements of the project accepted by the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency

5. We require to stop any further exceeding of the quarry PGS “Novik” and further deforestation without holding public hearings.

6. We express an outrage against pressures brought upon active citizens including campaigners of Save Pechora Committee who devote their free time to participate in public supervision of operations of the license-holders in our places of living. We require from the chief prosecutor of Komi Republic to take measures not to prevent violation of rights and freedoms of the citizens in the exercise of public supervisions.

7. We do not support the attempts of the local authorities in Komi Republic to cancel teaching state Komi language in schools. We require to cancel the order #366-п dated on 26th, October, 2017, signed by Natalia Mikhalchenkova - the minister of education, science and youth policy of Komi Republic.
The resolution was adopted by the participants of the meeting (in number of 80 persons) in the village of Novikbozh on the 11th of March, 2018.

The photos have been provided by the participants of the meeting.

translation by Elena Panina

русский текст

Save Pechora Committee
Архив газеты "Экологический вестник Припечорья"
архивные статьи газеты "Экологический вестник Припечорья"
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