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Activists announce end of anti-landfill protest in Russian far north

On January 9, 2021, the activist group “Chistaya Urdoma” (Clean Urdoma) announced the end of their long-running protest against the construction of a landfill at the Shiyes train station in Russia’s far-northern Arkhangelsk region. 

In a post on the social networking site Vkontakte, the group said that they “unanimously decided to acknowledge the demolition of the landfill as irreversible.” Chistaya Urdoma also added that they will not hinder “reclamation [restoration work] on the territory of Shiyes.”

That said, as underscored by Sever.Realii, the announcement includes a paragraph stating that not all of the activists involved have agreed to stop protesting.

Those who disagreed with Chistaya Urdoma’s decision to end the protest have actually broken with the activist coalition “Stop Shiyes.” As such, from here forward, Chistaya Urdoma plans to consider the activities of these activists “unrelated to the fight against the construction of the landfill in Shiyes.”

The construction of the landfill at the Shiyes train station, originally meant to take in waste from Moscow, began in 2018. It was met with immediate backlash as local residents feared it would devastate the environment in the region. Ecological activists set up a protest encampment near the construction site, which they maintained for more than two years.

The landfill project also provoked large-scale, intermittent protests in the Arkhangelsk region and neighboring Komi Republic that continued up until the spring of 2020.

In April 2020, Arkhangelsk Regional Governor Igor Orlov and Head of the Komi Republic Sergey Gaplikov both stepped down. The interim leaders appointed to both regions refused to support the landfill’s construction. In October 2020, the investor behind the project — Tekhnopark LLC — announced that it was halting construction and promised to recultivate the site by the summer of 2021.

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