Community Prevailing Over State | Moscow’s Waste Management

Construction site of a landfill for solid waste disposal from Moscow at Shies railway station. Activists are on duty at the posts day and night.

 

Documentary Photographer Yulia Nevskaya is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography.  From the project ‘Nobody lives there’.  To see Yulia’s body of work, click on any image.

 

The camp of activists on the range at the roadblock named “Leningrad”.

 

The house of Solovey family in Madmas. They have stopped repairing before the situation with the landfill will be solved.

 

In January 2019, a project of a new garbage reform was adopted, its main goal is to solve the crisis in Moscow. According to this project, solid household waste from the capital will be transported by rail to sparsely populated Northern areas of the country and buried there in specially equipped landfills. It was said that no one lives in the territories chosen for waste disposal. But in fact, this was not true.

 

Aleksand Neiman the inhabitant of Madmas, closest to Shies locality. He is one of the clue activists in the protest. At the railway bridge over the river Vichegda.

 

Twins Sasha and Miroslav at their grandmother’s house in Madmas. They live with their parents in a nearby village and try to come here regularly.

 

Construction of the first landfill began illegally six months before the adoption of the reform. The place of its location is a railway station named Shies on the border of the Arkhangelsk Region and the Komi Republic. Locals boycotted the construction site and have been on duty at self-organized posts for more than a year to avoid the delivery of fuel and construction equipment. The authorities cannot disperse the protest, because the construction is still illegal. People are afraid of environmental consequences. A swampy area is selected for the polygon. If it is built, the groundwater and soil will be poisoned. Locals will lose drinking water and the opportunity to engage in agriculture. They will have to leave, but they have no place to go.

 

The building of the sports House. Children spend a lot of time here after school. Local children’s sports teams take prizes at district competitions. The functionality of the building is supported by the efforts of the villagers.

 

Construction site of a landfill for solid waste disposal from Moscow. Swamp territory. The soil does not dry out even after a week of hot weather.

 

The protest at the Shies station has a special character, it is not like other stories of political confrontation in Russia. It is peaceful and participants avoid any open interactions. The main thing for them is to defend the right to live on their land. 

At the beginning of 2020, the authorities canceled the construction of the landfill. This is almost the only large-scale precedent in recent Russian history, where people were able to defend their rights before the state.

 

Madmas kindergarten during the quiet hour. Now there are more than 50 children in kindergarten.

 

The roadblock of activists named “Brest fortress” at the well which was found and purified on the territory of abandoned village.
Shies

 

The road from Madmas to Shies station.

 

All images and text © Yulia Nevskaya

 

 

See also:

The value of wooden walls

By Yulia Nevskaya

 

 

 

 

Edge of Humanity Magazine is an independent nondiscriminatory platform that has no religious, political, financial, or social affiliations.

We are committed to publishing the human condition, the raw diverse global entanglement, with total impartiality.

 

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