2 February 2014

Confrontation of environmentalists and the Voronezh administration along the way of the Olympic flame

The longstanding confrontation between environmental activists and the administration of Voronezh, due to the extraction of nickel in the areas adjacent to the city, has not slowed down even when following the city of the Olympic flame. In the second decade of January this year, the route for the Olympic torch was accompanied by numerous pickets and meetings of the environmental community. Groups of people armed with placards of well-known content and determination to protect their land from harmful developments constantly accompanied the athlete, who carries the symbol of sporting unity and honest struggle for achievements.

If we recall the prehistory of the struggle of ecologists and industrialists, the decision of the Voronezh administration to allow additional exploration and development of deposits rich in nickel and other non-ferrous metals located in the Elanskaya protected area in 2012 can be considered the key to the people's indignation. For several years, the fire of the struggle to preserve the rich flora and fauna of this region is not quenched. Therefore, the accompaniment of the Olympic torch by people's indignation looked very symbolic. The actions of the administration in this case can not be called tolerant and supportive. Unknown people in plain clothes tried to wrest posters from calls directly from the hands of the most active defenders of the region's ecological stability. Further, the inscriptions were destroyed directly on the spot without any explanation, which further inflamed the wave of negative emotions.

It should be noted that, according to the scientists of the communities, the actions of the metallurgical company, which received the right to develop a protected non-ferrous metal deposit, can indeed lead to a very real ecological catastrophe. After thirty years of extraction of industrial raw materials here completely eliminates the rich black earth zone and will cause significant harm to the health of the indigenous population. And there is no great strategic need to extract such a dangerous material for the country in a rich agricultural area. Rather, the administration of the province protects the interests of the mining corporation, a large part of its assets are located abroad. A social survey conducted among the indigenous population of these territories showed that one-third of all respondents are ready to use any means to protect their native land, and the total negative attitude towards the extraction of nickel in the protected area was expressed by almost one hundred percent of the total population questioned.

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