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  2. "The state knows how to take by starvation." How politicians Yevgeny Roizman, Mikhail Svetlov and Andrei Pivovarov went to Shies

"The state knows how to take by starvation." How politicians Yevgeny Roizman, Mikhail Svetlov and Andrei Pivovarov went to Shies

Dmitry Stepanovsky
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The Free People Forum was held in the camp of eco-activists at station Shies in Arkhangelsk Oblast from 14 to 15 December. The activists were visited by Executive Director of the Open Russia Andrei Pivovarov, ex-mayor of Yekaterinburg Yevgeny Roizman, libertarian Mikhail Svetov and other politicians. On the first day, they discussed the creation of a new civil society, and on the second day, they witnessed the unloading of coal at an unequipped site. The Free People Forum at Shies - in the photoreport of 7x7.

Crossing the Vychegda river is one of the important points on the way from Syktyvkar to Shies. In winter, cars and people cross the river on ice. Although it is December, the ice on the Vychegda river is still not strong enough. Those who go to Shies from the Komi Republic have been crossing the river on the railway bridge for several weeks. The ice crossing will appear closer to the new year.

Photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

It gets dark early in the North. The photo was taken at about 4PM. Some people are afraid to walk on the bridge because of the darkness and the fact that it is not equipped for people. Activists persuade them and understand that they are frightened not by the icy bridges along the railway and the height of the bridge, but by the trains that pass here from time to time. You can hide from them in special bays every 100 m.

Photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

In the winter of 2018–2019, there was only one shed at the Kostyor ('Bonfire') checkpoint — one of the activists' strongholds at the entrance to Shies. There are cold-proof buildings now. Recently, activists have installed surveillance cameras on them, thanks to which they will be able to record everyone who passes on the forest road.

Photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

On the day of the arrival of Moscow residents in the camp of activists, a member of the Rescue Committee of Pechora had a birthday. In the photo, he is showing everyone a t-shirt with the word "Republican", which he was given this morning.

Photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

Everyone who comes to Shies for the first time wants to talk to those who have been involved in the protest for a long time. As soon as new people come to the post, activists meet them, tell them about life, give them some tea.

Владимир Когут

Vladimir Kogut, photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

Employees of the Safety Guarantor Private Security Company are shooting everyone, who comes to the landfill construction site, with a dashcam. They are still hiding their faces with balaclava helmets and do not show the personal card of the guard. The police, according to activists, do not react to the statements against the private secutrity company.

Photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

In the evening on December 14, one of the activists considered that security guards had no right to shoot him without his consent and demanded that the police officer stopped the "offense". The police officer responsed that he could not forbid it. The argument was emotional, a small crowd gathered, several journalists began to shoot everything with their cameras. The policeman asked the activist to file a statement, he agreed, and they went to a temporary police station.

Photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

One of the employees recognized Vladimir Vorontsov, the administrator of public page "Police Ombudsman", and said: "Well, you see, Vladimir Alekseevich, in what conditions we have to work." Vorontsov followed the activist to the police station and, as he later said, "smoothed things over."

Photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

When the participants of the Free People Forum had a rest after the travel, everyone decided to draw round the table and talk. The guests said that they were inspired by this new civil society and the fight of the residents of Arkhangelsk Oblast and Komi for their land. They asked activists what kind of help they needed, advised to nominate their people for the next election. Activists said in turn that they had everything under control. They do not want to reveal plans for the future yet.

Марина Литвинович

Marina Litvinovich, photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

Member of the Public Oversight Commission of Moscow Marina Litvinovich said that she considered "Shies" the main word of 2019. She advised activists, while they still had so much support, to go to the authorities in order to start influencing something. According to her, you can always sit in the camp and block the construction site, but this is not enough.

Михаил Светов

Mikhail Svetov, photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

The libertarian supported the participants of the forum and also advised the activists to start doing something earlier, because "the state knows how to take by starvation." He used a civil protest against the clear-cutting of the Khimki forest in the early 2010s as an example. A few years later, despite the support of many people, a highway was still laid through it. Svetov agreed that it was not necessary to tell everyone about the plans and it was not necessary to trust promises of the authorities.

Юрий Шигарев

Yuri Shigarev, photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

Activist from Madmas Yuri Shigarev noted that the guests had come to teach others how to continue the protest. He reminded everyone that they had been trying to prevent the construction of the landfill at Shies for a year and a half already.

Андрей Пивоваров

Andrei Pivovarov, photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

Andrei Pivovarov apologized to the activists that their words might have been misunderstood somehow. He explained that he was only offering help to activists: in politics, in the courts, in the development of awareness.

Евгений Ройзман

Yevgeny Roizman, photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

Ex-mayor of Yekaterinburg Yevgeny Roizman arrived in Syktyvkar late in the evening because of the error of the airline. He arrived at Shies at night. But no one was sleeping at that time, and everyone gathered at the table again. When the conversation turned back to politics, he advised activists not to be afraid of this word, because politics was everywhere. He called it an additional tool through which you could achieve the goal: for example, even the Deputy of the regional Assembly can influence the situation and demand a report from the Governor.

Photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

The locomotive with two wagons stopped on the railway tracks around 10AM, and a few private security guards gathered at the station. Igor Popov, the chief of the shift of security guards,  protected the territory with a warning tape and ordered them not to let anybody through it.

Photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

In addition to the guards, there were several police officers and even a traffic policeman at the station. They said they were there to "ensure public order."

Photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

An hour after preparation, men in orange vests marked "State Institution Highways" brought a sledge-hammer and piled the contents of the wagon out onto the ground. There was coal. It will probably be used to heat the rooms where the guards live.

Vladimir Vorontsov, photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

Administrator of public page "Police Ombudsman" Vladimir Vorontsov agreed about passing him to the taped-off territory. The guards explained that the area was closed for safety. At this time, some activists, together with the police officer, could pass to the driver of KAMAZ who approached the wagons. After a short dispute, according to activists, the driver showed all the permits: a way-bill, a mark of a medic and others.

Vorontsov said that on the eve of the dispute between activists and police about whether the guard could shoot everything on camera, he was on the side of the police. In this case, in his opinion, the actions of the guards can be qualified as arbitrariness and inaction of the police looked strange. In this situation, he was on the side of the activists.

Photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

Some eco-activists approached the employees and asked them to stop the offense: the guards had taped-off the public territory, forbidden to pass through the tapes, unloaded coal on an unequipped site. The police did not respond to the verbal demand, they offered to write a statement.

Photo by Dmitry Stepanovsky

Due to the fact that the car was waiting in the forest for the participants of the Free People Forum to take them back to Syktyvkar, they did not wait for the end of coal unloading. Shies activists called it another demonstration of "lawlessness" at the construction site.

Residents of Komi oppose the construction of the landfill at station Shies in Arkhangelsk Oblast. The distance from Shies station to Syktyvkar in a straight line is less than 100 kilometers. In December 2018, activists organized a round-the-clock eco-camp at Shies to monitor the actions of builders and security guards. In mid-June, the construction was suspended and part of the equipment was taken out, but the eco-activists did not decamp and continued to monitor the territory.

The landfill for garbage from Moscow and Moscow Oblast began to be built in the summer of 2018 on the border of Arkhangelsk Oblast and the Komi Republic. Residents of the two regions  hold mass actions against its construction regularly. Activists are on duty at the eco-watch – the camp near the construction site of the landfill.


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