Tag Archives: Russia

What The US, Russia Are Really Quarreling Over: Pipelines

21 Aug

For both countries, the Snowden affair is just another ho-hum spat in the greater imperial rivalry.

by Steve Horn / Mint Press News

Secretary of State John Kerry, right, listens to a translation as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to reporters during their meeting in Washington, Friday, Aug. 9, 2013. The much-discussed Snowden affair is only the latest surface-level event in a geopolitical standoff between the U.S. and Russa over natural gas. (AP/Charles Dharapak)

Secretary of State John Kerry, right, listens to a translation as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to reporters during their meeting in Washington, Friday, Aug. 9, 2013. The much-discussed Snowden affair is only the latest surface-level event in a geopolitical standoff between the U.S. and Russa over natural gas. (AP/Charles Dharapak)

Nearly two months ago, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden handed smoking-gun documents on the international surveillance apparatus to The Guardian and The Washington Post in what’s become one of the most captivating stories in recent memory.

Snowden now lives in Russia after a Hollywood-like nearly six-week-long stint in a Moscow airport waiting for a country to grant him asylum.

Journalists and pundits have spent countless articles and news segments conveying the intrigue and intensity of the standoff that eventually resulted in Russia granting Snowden one year of asylum. Attention now has shifted to his father, Lon Snowden, and his announced visit of Edward in Russia.

Lost in the excitement of this “White Bronco Moment,” many have missed the elephant in the room: the “Great Game”-style geopolitical standoff between the U.S. and Russia underlying it all, and which may have served as the impetus for Russia to grant Snowden asylum to begin with. What’s at stake? Natural gas.

Continue reading

Eco-Blogger Attacked in Russia After Exposing Chrome Factory Pollution

29 May

by Andrey Tselikov / Global Voices


A cliff on the Chusovaya River. One of the color photographs made in 1912 by Prokudin-Gorsky. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Environmental protection has become a dangerous area of public activism in Russia—at least where industrial pollution is concerned. This is because eco-activists often directly oppose regional business interests, who sometimes react with force. A case in point: on May 9, 2013, unknown assailants attacked and severely beat an eco-blogger from the mid-sized industrial town of Pervouralsk (located 40 km from Yekaterinburg, in the Ural Mountains). The blogger, Stepan Chernogubov, claims that the assault was in retaliation for the publicity he is creating over a local chrome manufacturer dumping waste into the picturesque Chusovaya River.

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In Russia’s South, Ecologists, Cossacks Team Up To Protect Nature Reserve

15 May

The Interior Ministry says a criminal investigation has been opened against the security guards.

by Tom Balmforth and Svetlana Pavlova, Cross Posted from RFERL

Ten activists were savagely beaten by private security guards this week, with three of them hospitalized, as confrontation ramped up over contentious plans to mine nickel in Russia’s southern Voronezh Oblast.

It was the latest confrontation in a local grassroots struggle that has united ecological activists and local Cossacks in a movement to protect a nature reserve near the Khopyor River in the fertile region.

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The Boston Marathon Bombing, Chechnya and Ecocidal Tendencies

20 Apr

by Panagioti, Earth First! Newswire

Lake Kezenoy-am (Lake Goluboye, Russian: Кезенойам, Голубое; Chechen: Къоьзаной-Iaм) is a lake in Chechnya near border with Dagestan, Russia that goes through Andiyskiy Khrebet (Andian Ridge); later the border of Dagestan went into Chechnya taking half of the lake in to Dagestan. It is situated at an altitude of 1870 m above sea level and fills and area of 2.4 km². The maximum depth of the lake is 74 m. In winter the surface of the lake freezes and in summer the water temperature is around 5 °C. The lake water has a year-round supply of oxygen in which plankton survive. Salmo ezenami, a rare species of trout, are native only to the lake; however their population is threatened with extinction due to the introduction of European chubs (Squalius cephalus) which consume the fry of the Salmo

Tired of looking at the same blurry images of the Brothers Tsarnaev? Here’s Lake Kezenoy-am (Chechen: Къоьзаной-Iaм) in Chechnya near border with Dagestan, Russia that goes through Andiyskiy Khrebet (Andian Ridge). Salmo ezenami, a rare species of trout, are native only to the lake; however their population is threatened with extinction.

There a good chance that you are reading this now because of our initial post on the Boston Marathon bombing, “A Tale of Two Terrorisms,” going viral last week, catching the eye of a couple hundred thousand readers (the post was just one short story in an extensive series of articles on drones, repression and the techno-industrial empire). Within a few days it seemed everyone was disturbingly trying to boost their social media hits by referencing Boston, for example the Westboro Baptists claiming it was “God” who brought on the carnage because Massachusetts was the first state to pass same-sex marriage.

By now, I’d guess that you already know more about the alleged young Chechen bombers, the brothers Tsarnaev, than you know about most of your own next door neighbors. But how much have you learned about the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and what some call “one of the bloodiest occupations of the 21st century”?

The mountains in the area Sharoi, Chechnya.

The mountains in the area Sharoi, Chechnya.

Yesterday, an EF! Newswire author hinted at the history: While the US stood as allies behind the Russian Federation’s chauvinism in Chechnya, the landscape was rendered, according to an aid to [Boris] Yeltsin, an “environmental wasteland.” Oil spills, radioactive pollution, and chemical spills resulted from the massive bombardment of Chechnya. Half of Chechnya today is officially considered a “zone of ecological disaster” by the Russian Federation. Continue reading

Russian Indigenous Victory: RAIPON Reopens

25 Mar

Re-posted from Survival International


An Evenk boy with reindeer in Siberia.
© Raipon/Survival

RAIPON, the organization representing Russia’s indigenous peoples, has been given permission by the Russian authorities to reopen. It was forced to close by Russia’s Ministry of Justice in November last year.

The official reason given for the shutdown was that the organization’s statutes were not in line with federal law. However, many believed the closure was an attempt to quell opposition to the exploitation of Russia’s natural resources in Siberia, and was part of a crackdown on organizations with foreign links.

RAIPON was formed in 1990 and represents more than 270,000 indigenous people. It has given a voice to tribal people in some of the most remote and inhospitable places on earth. Continue reading

Prominent Russian environmentalist sentenced in Pussy Riot trial

19 Aug

Maria Alekhina, center, a member of feminist punk group Pussy Riot is escorted to a court room in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. The trio Pussy Riot face up to seven years behind bars after staging a performance in a Moscow cathedral calling on the Virgin Mary to remove President Putin from power. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

One member of the punk trio, Maria Alekhina, has a history of involvement with environmental , working with Greenpeace Russia, and animal liberation activism (she has a support page demanding vegan food in prison).

During trial, prosecutors reportedly tried to humiliate her for her ecological activism. Meanwhile the Russian Orthodox church is building on more than 500 acres of parks and other green spaces in Moscow.

The group was found guilty of “hooliganism” two days ago and sentenced each to two years Continue reading

ELF actions in Russia in Solidarity with Marie Mason and Eric McDavid

14 Jun

original communique from 325.nostate.net

“For me solidarity is a constant proposal to struggle, is the continuation and the development of the revolutionary action for which the comrade was captured” – Gerasimos Tsakalos, Conspiracy of Cells of Fire

01.06 we torched electrical measuring and control devices in 2 underground service booths of a water communication system that brings hot water to a military intelligence site in Butovskiy forest. To add to the fact that this infrastructure serves military personnel, more than 800 trees were cut during earthworks for this water supply line to even appear in the forest. To hamper service brigades further, we also spiked the road they use for maintaining the system.

05.06 we torched an excavator at a highway construction site west of Moscow (Volokolamsk direction).

06.06 and 10.06 we expropriated some construction equipment and destroyed geologists’ measurement posts in the glades of Butovskiy forest.

11.06 we broke into yet another underground service booth and put to fire all the digital and analog devices and tools inside.

We dedicate these attacks to Marie Mason and Eric McDavid. We don’t have the honour of personal acquaintance with them, but their dedication to protecting our Planet and conscious choices they’ve made not only to act, but also to stand their ground in the wake of state repressions, inspire us and help us to continue on our path.

For Earth Liberation! For Human Liberation!

ELF-Russia, Informal Anarchist Federation / International Network of Action and Solidarity


Bulgarians Protest Russian-Backed Nuke Proposal

31 Mar

Hundreds of people joined an anti-nuclear protest in Sofia on Wednesday, calling for the government to drop plans for a new Russia-backed nuclear plant after the radiation disaster in Japan. About 300 protestors -- some wearing gas masks and radiation suits -- gathered outside the government headquarters to shout "No to Belene!" against the planned 2,000 megawatt facility on the Danube in northern Bulgaria. Many people at the rally had yellow radiation signs stamped on their jackets and carried slogans reading "Stop the Nuclear Bomb in Belene." In a declaration distributed to journalists, the organisers warned that "the Fukushima disaster showed that the nuclear industry had not learned the lessons of (the world?s worst nuclear accident in) Chernobyl."

Japan Disaster Causes Venezuela to Halt New Nuclear Power Plant Construction

19 Mar

CARACAS, March 15 (Reuters) – Venezuela is suspending development of a nuclear power program following the catastrophe at a nuclear complex in Japan, President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday.

The South American country had hoped that a planned Russian-built nuclear power plant would provide 4,000 megawatts (MW) and be ready in about a decade.

But Chavez said events in Japan after last Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the tsunami that followed it showed the risks associated with nuclear power were too great.

“For now, I have ordered the freezing of the plans we have been developing … for a peaceful nuclear program,” he said during a televised meeting with Chinese investors.

“I do not have the least doubt that this (the potential for a nuclear catastrophe in Japan) is going to alter in a very strong way the plans to develop nuclear energy in the world.”

Japan is racing to avert a new disaster after a fire broke out at a nuclear plant and sent low levels of radiation wafting into Tokyo, prompting some people to flee the capital and triggering growing international alarm.

Venezuela signed a deal with Russia last October that moved Chavez’s socialist government a step closer to its longtime goal of developing nuclear power like Brazil and Argentina.

But some experts were skeptical at the time about whether Venezuela would go through with the project, or even needed it given the OPEC member’s vast oil and gas reserves, plus solar, hydroelectric and wind energy possibilities. (Writing by Daniel Wallis, Editing by Jackie Frank)

News Roundup 5/10

10 May

Containment Boom to defend Breton National Wildlife Refuge

NOAA maps admit that oil from Deepwater Horizon is accumulating onshore. Greenpeace found some at a place called Port Eads.

Here is a 9-day-old video offering a crisp, clean, universally comprehensible explanation of the spill. Keep in mind that by now the first “solution”, the robotic sub, didn’t really work. The second solution, the big dome, just recently failed, so now they’re planning a little “top hat” dome. Also, the stats have changed: 210,000 gallons per day are now gushing into the ocean, for a total of 3.5 million gallons so far. BP has now received federal approval to continuously pump chemical dispersants underwater, the ecological effects of which are completely unknown. Everyone seems clueless about what to do, with the next options including artificial islands, cutting the riser pipe (scary, because even more oil could then leak out), releasing water from the Louisiana levees, or a “junk shot”:

“The next tactic will be a junk shot,” Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen told “Face the Nation” anchor Bob Schiffer on Sunday. “They’ll take a bunch of debris, shredded up tires, golf balls and things like that and under very high pressure shoot it into the preventer itself and see if they can clog it up and stop the leak.”

Here’s the site for the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command, the network of state, corporate and federal agencies responsible for the spill.

The BBC has an interactive graphics page on the spill as well as some video of the cleanup efforts. They also say it’s far from the biggest spill ever. Just wait a few weeks.

Also from the BBC, Neanderthal genes have been confirmed to exist in modern Homo Sapiens. Dave Foreman postulated on this 20 years ago in his book Confessions of an Eco-Warrior.

Russia’s largest underground coal mine has exploded. About 60 people are still trapped inside.

Greenpeace reports that European motorists are using tar sands oil without knowing where it came from.

On May 15th, give your stuff away. Mike Morone is talking about free boxes on a massive scale. It’s something we all should be doing anyway, and maybe this day will help spread awareness.

In case you haven’t seen Kanellos yet, check it out. This dog gets around.

Check out EF! on YouTube! The slide show and puppet show from the Earth First! Roadshow are now online. Props to Diablo EF! for their cathartic car-smashing videos. And in case anyone was wondering, Earth First! is alive and well. We are adding a VIDEOS page to the newswire so everyone can easily watch this stuff.