Environmentalist Camp attacked by Nuclear Power Plant Workers (97)
'96 Anti-Nuclear Conference ended up in Jail
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Activists believe that this was the work of the SBU (The Ukrainian Security Services - the former KGB) in that the secret services had been harrassing activists for the past year since the Rainbow Keepers actively protested the EBRD's plans to finance the building of new nuclear blocks in Ukraine's reactors.
Last year the SBU appeared at Nadia's parents' apartment, only two hours after having returned from 6 months in Prague where she had been studying.
At the end of February, the Rainbow Keepers published an open letter to the acting president of the EBRD which was signed by other ecological organizations. This letter talked about the government's diversion and abuse of funds given by the EBRD, including funds meant for ensuring safety at Chernobyl and stated that it there was no use to allocating new funds to build new nuclear blocks. A scandal broke out.
The EBRD's representative in Ukraine, J. Kinakh told the paper "Vseukrainskiye Vedomosti" (on March 3, 1998) that after receiving this letter, the heads of the bank started to check the facts therein. Having confirmed some misuse of funds, they were forced to reconsider financing many projects in Ukraine.
Shortly after that, archival material, a computer and other things disappeared from Nadia's apartment.
Later, just before the EBRD's summit in Kiev from May 9-12, illegal interrogations of the activists began. They were threatened with arrest and even murder if they didn't cease their activity against the EBRD.
Despite the fact that people were being constantly followed, bugged and arrested, the Rainbow Keepers and the group Tigra Nigra still carried out a number of actions. A few people were arrested on false pretexts. There was a scandal in the press and at the summit but despite this, seven people had to spend 3-5 days in jail.
This new raid on Nadia's apartment shows that the SBU are continuing their repression of ecological activists. It's important to note that at this time there is a 120-day discussion on plans to build new nuclear reactors in Ukraine going on. Such repression of the freedom on information has not existed in Ukraine since the Soviet era.
The blockade of the road was begun 27 July by the participants of international protest camp against starting of Rostov NPP. The camp organized by radical environmental movement "Rainbow Keepers" attracted about 70 people from various countries of former USSR, East and West Europe. On the road to the plant were placed 11 two-hundred-liter barrels full of concret, with tubes fixed in the middle of them (people put their arms inside the tubes and fasten them somehow or join by hand-cuffs) so there was made "alive chain" that completely closed the road. Some slogans were hung out: "Inhabitants of Volgodonsk! Launch of The NPP Is Planned To Be 1998 - Demand Referendum!", "Atom Never Is Peaceful". Such a method of blockade was probed at the first time by Czech environmentalists last year and now was used at the first time on the territory of former USSR. It was thought that those who would try to unblock the road would be afraid to make it violently which means almost surely broken arms of the activists.
But atom-workers of Volgodonsk were not afraid of anything. Very interesting is role of town's authorities in this story: the day before vice-chief of town's administration Ivannikov and deputy of head of town's militia (police) Rubtsov declared that they couldn't guarantee safety of the green in case the workers of the NPP behave themselves roughly and angfily. And the next day three militia-men with machine-guns observed listlessly the wild beating, didn't try to interrupt and even didn't inform their commanders what was happening.
The next day after the slaughter in militia station they refused to take institute proceedings and medicians were afraid to diagnose concussion of the brain (five environmentalists have got brain injuries, one nose was broken, a forearm was hurt and many others). So environmentalists are sure that the operation against them was maintained on the highest town's level.
Desprite of such a tention "Rainbow Keepers" are full of an eager tocontinue their fight and demand not to start NPP. International protest camp against starting of Rostov NPP, organized by radical environmental movement "Rainbow Keepers" began it's work 16 July in Volgodonsk (Rostov region). In camp and in protest actions take place representatives of radical youth from various places of Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, Tadjikistan, Germany, Finland, Czech Republic and Poland.
The camp was organized because of pressure of nuclear officials was getting stronger. As it is written in a project of a decree of government of Russia, start of the first block of Rostov NPP (town Volgodonsk) is planned on 1998.
Construction of Rostov NPP was begun in 70-es in a seismic-dangerous region with a geological break under it, on floating ground that in unsafe base even for living houses of 200-thousand inhabited Volgodonsk, situated 13 km from the station, not to speak about such danger as an NPP. In 1990 after numerous protest, threat of strike of all the town and blockade of the plant the government of Russia took a decision to stop construction of the NPP. 1996 Ministery of Nuclear Power undertook an attempt to cntinue the construction. After that "Rainbow Keepers" placed tent protest camp by the walls of NPP. They succeed to get the decision of Rostov region's authorities about impossibility of continuing of the construction (September, 11, 1996). But in April 1997 it has all began again.
There have to be plased two reactors VVER-1000 on the NPP. Technical-geological, hidrological, tectonical, ecological and cultural conditions of the choosen place for NPP are not convinient for modern laws and rules. Technical failures of the project are obvious: cooling system is unsufficient, and ever radioactive water is planned to get to Tsimlyanskoye water reserve. There are fundamental mistakes in the project and it's impossible to correct them. Planned level of environmental danger is 300 times higher that is contenient for Russian laws.
Among main demands of "Rainbow Keepers" is organizing a region's referendum about starting the NPP. 4 districts of the region (it is necessary to be 10) have allowed to Rostov's administration with a demand to make a referendum. The second demand is to slow, gradually refuse of futter development of nuclear energy in Russia.
by Sergey Fomichov
In the noon of August 11 (1997) radical envirnmental movement Rainbow Keepers with support of kazaks of 1st Don' District and East District of Grate Don Army (half-legal forces which was in Russian Empire like exlusiv? class of free lords with function of defence Empire borders) was blockade road to Rostov Nuclear Power Plant again. The Myth that Keepers havn't active support from the local population was dispersed.
Local militia had blocked the ways to the place of action. Some kozaks were arrested.
Kazaks and Keepers have tried to build barricade made of wooden logs as anti-tank one. But during fixing that barricade up police encickled activists, bloked and skirmish happen. Some activists were locked to barricade units and one of the kozaks was injured. Kozaks demended personal presence of Chief of Volgodonsk administration Sergey Gorbunov. But that demend was rejected.
The Rainbow Keepers with kozak Anetoliy Kuznetsov bloked the road, and unrolled slogan "We are declaring our Don to be nuclear free zone".
Than militia wasn't keeping their traditional neutrality. They were blocking all cars with activists and kozaks which were going to the city or to the camp. All this cars were checked for handkcafs and leaflets, driver were theatened for helping activists. the buses with kozaks, who were going to support action were stoped too.
At the same time in Rostov governer Chub, former major of Volgodonsk and present Ataman (chief) of Kozaks Great Don'Army Khizhnyakov were condacting negotiations about that question.
At 1 pm assistant of chief of Volgodonsk regoinal administration Igor Guskov and Head of Volgodonsk municipal Council came to the blockade. they started negotiations with activists and proposed them to make an action against Rostov Regional Parlament. Keepers clamed that firstly Volgodonsk' authority must to iniciate referendum on local level with wording of ecologist (against placing and operating Nuclear Power Plants in the Rostov Region). Kazak gave the same petitions from the name of 1st Don District. Then local authority staff gave the guarantee that referendum will be iniciated by municipal council, urgently, before 10 am of the next day,August, 12th, and Kozaks with Rainbow Keepers stoped blockade temporary.
ANNOUNCE: In August,14th, in Volgograd (capital of the neighbour region) will happen the action of protest against starting of the RoNPP up and repressions against activests, and for solidarity with Rainbow Keepers. This action organised by local greens.
Renfrey Clarke writes about what followed the conference:
With close to a thousand square kilometers of Ukraine made uninhabitable by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, you might expect the authorities in the capital, Kiev, to take a tolerant attitude to protests against nuclear power. And you might think the government would permit state-owned mass media organs to give a hearing to anti-nuclear campaigners.
Not a bit of It. In the week leading up to the tenth anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe on April 26,the Ukrainian government banned its media outlets from publicizing anti-nuclear information. As for public actions in Kiev to mark the anniversary - they were forbidden by the city's mayor.When anti-nuclear campaigners on April 23 defied the ban on demonstrations and picketed government offices, the result was bruised limbs and a string of arrests and jailing.
The anti-nuclear protest action beg;m early in the afternoon of April 23 when environmentalists from Ukraine, Russia and other countries gathered on Independence Square in Kiev. The protesters were demanding the shut down of the remaining reactors at the Chernobyl plant; an end to moves for the further development of nuclear power in Ukraine; the initiation of a pro-gram to close down all the country's nuclear power plants; and the development of non-nuclear energy alternatives.
The activists first created a chain symbolizing Ukrainian nuclear dependence. Then followed speakers who included Sergey Formichev, a well-known activist from the Rainbow Keepers radical environmental group, and Vladimir Slivyak, an anti-nuclear spokesperson for the Russian-based Social-Ecological Union, and editor of ECODEFENSE, an electronic journal of Russian environmental actions.
After about an hour some 30 demonstrators marched to the offices of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, where they picketed. About thirty minutes later special forces police moved in to smash the gathering, arresting a total of 19 demonstrators.
The "justice" these people received was as rough as their arrests had been. The environmentalists were denied lawyers and translators as well as medical treatment. At the Pechersky Police Office that evening, they were put before a magistrate who denied them any chance to speak. Five of the demonstrators, including Fomichev and Slivyak, were jailed. The imprisoned activists began a hunger strike.
Anti-nuclear activists discussed the arrests with representatives of the Kiev Committee for the Protection of Human Rights. The committee members noted that at least five serious violations of Ukrainian laws appeared to have occurred during the arrests and the trial.
By Chernobyl Day, April 26, Fomichev and Slivyak had been released. On the street near the Kiev mayor's office, the two addressed an impromptu press conference. 'The authorities tried to threaten us and disrupt our plans for the Chernobyl anniversary," Slivyak declared. "But they can't kill the worldwide anti-nuclear movement, just as they can't kill the memory of Chernobyl." Special forces police soon arrived to drive off demonstrators who had unfurled a banner near where the press conference was taking place. The arrested picketers were released only gradually, and at least one was still being held on April 29. The Anti-Nuclear Campaign in the former USSR is now consulting with lawyers, with a view to launching a criminal court case around the violation of the environmentalists' human rights.
(Renfrey Clarke's account reprinted from "ECODEFENCE!inform" No 83 April-May 1996, Moskovsky prospect 120-34, 236006 Kaliningrad/Koenigsberg, Russia. Free via E-mail from: email@example.com)
(From Nuclear Resister, June 96)
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