Summer protest camp in Votkinsk, Russia preliminary information - please publish and distribute!
Votkinsk is a city of 100 000 inhabitants in the Udmurtian republic, Russian Federation. It is a planned site of Russian-American plant to process old heavy rocket fuel. First such experiment ended to ban of United states department of enviroment - the proposal was to build processing plant to the desert of the Nevada, where most near human settlement was a community of 300 indians 250 kilometres away. The plant was supposed to harm protected tortoises in the area. So US congress decided to finance such an experiment in Russia with 55 million US$ - in extent 10 times bigger than the Nevada plant.
First planned site was the city of Perm near Ural mountains - after strong protests of local inhabitants Russian government decided to move project to a place 4 kilometres from the city of Votkinsk. This because rocket manufacturing company Topol is the biggest employer of the city. The plan is that after 5 years of American governance, plant will be governed by local company.
After tour of offers, US government decided to give subcontract to Lockheed Martin, biggest military-industrial transnational in the world, and most important contractor of the US army and NASA. Lockheed Martin has also been strongly involved in privatization schemes of Russia. Lockheed Martin has also a record of scandals, both ecological and on breaking of arms export regulation.
Russian government has made an ecological impact assesment of the project - as usual, not after their own laws. Result was that plant will mean "jobs" - currently it seems to be about 25 in the beginning.. Known greenwash "NGO", "Green Cross" has been paid to promote project in local mass media and to marginalize the resistance.
Inhabitants of Votkinsk started resistance immediately when they learned about the plans. Local organising group has dozens of activists, and has organised public protests with 2000-3000 participants. Local movement got also a municipal referendum organised, in which majority opposed the project. This without any grants or finances whatsoever for the election campaign, while local government was putting lots of money and effort to counter-propaganda. Biggest employer of the city, company Topol forbid their employees to participate the referendum and observed people who went to vote. Administrative court nullified the referendum, which has become more like a routine in Russia where municipal and regional referendums are formally binding. There is also strong movement in the city of Chaykovskiy near Votkins, which has organised mass meetings as well as car caravan to the city of Izhevsk, capital of the Udmurtian republic.
Groups in both Votkinsk and Chaykovskiy have joined Socio-Ecological Union, umbrella of about 300 enviromental NGO's, and "Khimbez", network against chemical pollutants in Russia. After lenghty court processes, local movement asked help from "Rainbow Keepers", radical social ecologist movement known for their direct actions. After two years of resistance, local people decided that new forms of resistance are necessary. Local people wanted to organise a protest camp, which Rainbow Keepers have been organised annually since the beginning of the nineties.
The camp is planned to start in the middle of the july - usually Rainbow Keepers camps last up to 6 weeks. More details about schedule and travel are not available yet - just write down the name Votkinsk and the date 15th of july. Local movement has not yet internet access, but you can contact organising group in Moscow from adresses firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. or Autonomous Action of Moscow, email@example.com
See you in Votkinsk!