On January 14, «7x7»’s correspondent visited screening of the documentary "Extremists" by Moscow director Alexey Tikhomirov in the hall of the city art space Agriculture in Petrozavodsk. It is devoted to a five-year struggle of the inhabitants of the village of Suna against deforestation.
The screening gathered about one hundred people: the main characters of the film — residents of the Kondopoga village of Suna, and all those who followed the story of people's opposition to officials and developers of a sand pit and helped them to be on duty in the forest.
According to the film's author, at the end of 2016 he was looking for interesting characters to make documentary. A relative from Karelia told him about the Suna pine forest.
"He said that this topic is now being discussed: the old people live in the forest, and try to protect it. I bought train tickets the same day and arrived to Karelia," Alexey Tikhomirov said.
There are no offscreen words, the author watches from the outside: how the inhabitants of Suna live in the woods in the winter; how the 80-year-old veterans Vasily Diykov and Nina Makkoyeva swim across the ice-caught river in a boat, and then go to the camp through the forest; how Tatyana Romahina shows human rights commissions cut down trunks with Red Book mosses; how locals urge officials to abandon destruction of the forest and development of a pit.
"Extremists" were warmly welcomed in Petrozavodsk, several times the audience applauded during the screening. After the screening, all the inhabitants of Suna came on the stage to loud applause. Vasily Diykov thanked people who helped them on duty in the forest, and the journalists for writing about this story throughout the five years of struggle.
"We saved the forest. Thank you!" summed up the veteran.
In 2012, the forest near the village of Suna, a traditional place of mushrooms, berries and medicinal herbs gathering, was given to the company "Saturn Nordstroy" for the development of a sand pit. At the same time, local residents started fighting for the forest. In 2015, when the development of a sand pit was to begin, environmentalists discovered the red-listed plants in the forest – Lobaria pulmonaria and Neckera pennata. Development of a sand pit was postponed.
In the spring of 2016, after Rosprirodnadzor authorized the development company to move the Lobaria out of the pit, the cutting began. Then the inhabitants of Suna camped in the forest to prevent its destruction, for which they were called "Suna partisans".
In February 2017, representatives of the Human Rights Council discussed the social conflict between Suna and business. They visited the duty station in the forest and came to the conclusion that despite the fact that all permits were issued without violations, the opinion of the population should be respected. Arthur Parfenchikov, temporarily acting governor of Karelia, agreed and announced cancellation of the land lease contract with Saturn Nordstroy. "Partisans" received copies of the documents on March 24 and decided to stop the watch in the forest.
On May 9, the inhabitants of Suna celebrated their victory with a small concert on the shore.
At the initiative of Suna activists, the process of creating a natural monument in the forest is underway. They cooperate with environmentalists from the Forest Institute of the Karelian Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of North Industrial Ecology Problems (Apatity), Petrozavodsk University and the environmental organization SPOK.
Gleb Yarovoy, photo by the author, «7x7»