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"We want to breathe, not to choke." Participants of the rally in the Tambov region demanded to close the landfill

«7x7» report

On December 23, about five thousand residents of the Nikiforovsky district of the Tambov region protested against the Bastion landfill and demanded not only to close and restore the illegal landfill, but also to dismiss the head of the Nikiforovsky district Alexander Shcherbakov. The rally was visited by the correspondent of «7x7».


For the right to breathe and live

In Nikiforovka, Pervomayskaya Street was blocked by two trucks before the rally, police were on duty at the entrance to the local hyde park. The participants of the action arrived in seven minibuses rented by the organizers of the rally. The protesters were crowded with posters, Russian flags and black helium balloons. Schoolchildren stood in front of the stage holding posters "We want to breathe, not choke," "Do not poison children!!!", "No to the training ground."

Seven volunteers collected signatures of residents demanding "to close the landfill "Bastion", restore it and dismiss the head of the Nikiforovsky district A. Shcherbakov." All lists were filled in quickly, and the organizers brought new ones.



"I want to live in nice environment, drink clean water, and not choke on a garbage dump. During the summer, our landfill burned. There is dirty water. This has never happened before. I want to breathe and live here, I do not want to leave. I care about my homeland, I am a patriot," volunteer Oksana Kurmanova said.



The Nikiforovka dump of 14 hectares is located near a unique monument of history and nature of the Tatarsky val. According to the rally participants, it is not officially open. Residents observed for a year and a half how the cars were taking garbage to the dump, but did not attach any importance to this. In December 2018, in the VKontakte social network groups "Bastion Garbage Landfill. We are choking!!!!" and "Overheard in Nikiforovka" it was reported that from January 1, 2019, due to the change of the regional territorial waste management plan, the Bastion landfill will take waste from the entire Tambov region.

According to the rally participants, this information angered the residents of the district. Even more they were outraged by a message found on the Internet about public hearings on this landfill, which the authorities held on April 28 and July 10, 2017. 18 local residents who allegedly attended the hearings did not know anything about them. They submitted an application to the prosecutor's office against the unlawful use of their names in the documents of the hearings. According to them, the remaining participants in the hearings were employees of the administration and state institutions dependent on the authorities.



"When I started collecting signatures and submitting documents to the prosecutor’s office and the Investigation Committee, our local authorities began to obstruct, to threaten me, began to write applications to the police, to inform the owners of our landfill site that we went to the dump. People just wanted to know what's really going on behind their backs. And you probably already know a lot of what's going on there. It’s outrageous! There are no high technologies as they promise us. There is simply a dump. Cars on all sides. And do not believe the authorities that they import it only from the Michurinsky district. It is not true. If they issue all the documents now, if they carry out their project and put it into operation, they will overload us," the protest initiator, entrepreneur Olga Chetyrina said at the rally.

According to the residents of the village, several days before the rally, some people handed out leaflets in the form of an Orthodox calendar for 2019 with the image of the village church and information about the landfill. The authors of the leaflet wrote that “new safe technologies will be applied at the landfill, so there are no risks of environmental pollution or environmental disasters”. However, residents are confident that the bastion site is an ordinary dump.


Residents of Nikiforovka with leaflets

"This is the leaflet that means, as I understand it, that our graves are indicated on this page, this landfill is our grave! And here, on the other hand, is our church for a funeral service," said an honorary citizen of the Nikiforovsky district, the former director of the Nikiforovskaya school, Valentina Redchenko.


Valentina Redchenko


"Why should I leave the place where I grew up, where my parents lived?"

The rally participant, the head of the municipal state institution "Centralized Accounting Department of Educational and Other Institutions of the District" Elena Solomatina told the «7x7» correspondent that "she considers it her duty to directly and honestly express her civic opinion, her position:

"You know, as they say, do not be afraid of those people who speak to you in the eyes, but be afraid of those people who pretend that they are with you, but they want to destroy you. That's what's scary in our time. Therefore, I believe that those people who speak openly are the patriots of our small homeland. When I learned that it was all going on in our area, my first thought was that, yes, I should probably leave. Three weeks have passed, and I think, why should I leave the place where I grew up, where my parents lived? We work here, I have a lot of friends here, my relatives. I don't want to leave. And so we must fight. I have a child of 11 years old, he wrote a wish to Father Frost on VKontakte: "I don’t want any gifts, I just don’t want to have a landfill next to my district."


Elena Solomatina


One of the organizers of the rally, Sergei Artamonov, said «7x7», that even if they achieve the closure of the landfill, something else must be done with it:

"It is necessary to restore it, to transform it into a civilized form in order to return the original initial state. Garbage must be removed or disposed. In this case, for the time being they just dumped it in a heap, but according to all the rules of burial, 30 cm of waste is needed, half a meter of soil. Nothing has been done. There are mountains. Ideally, there should be not a landfill for each district, but one landfill, civilized, with a waste processing plant. That would be the norm for us."

Despite the cold weather and snowfall, the rally lasted about two hours and ended with black balloons in the sky.



On December 24, Sergey Artamonov told a «7x7» correspondent that the first deputy head of the regional administration and head of his office, Oleg Ivanov, intend to arrive in the district:

"Two zeros" comes to us, Nikitin’s deputy. He decided to introduce repressions, to intimidate, or just to talk. Why not? Didn't we get his attention at yesterday’s rally? Calls a couple of state employees to talk. We are going there to support. A curious phenomenon."

The population of Nikiforovka in 2018 was 7479 people. In the village there are two secondary schools, one music and one sports, kindergartens, an Orthodox church, a sugar factory, an elevator, a hospital, an oil depot, and there is a pig farm two kilometers from the village.

The head of the administration of the Nikiforovsky district, Alexander Shcherbakov, was born in Nikiforovka, worked in the Nikiforovskaya MMC, in the tax inspectorate, at the sugar factory, in the district administration, as deputy head of the education and science department of the Tambov region. The Council of Deputies of the Nikiforovsky District elected him to the post of district head on November 3, 2015.

According to "Kontur. Focus", LLC "Bastion", registered in Nikiforovka and specializing in waste collection, signed a contract on June 29, 2018 in the amount of 9 million 594 thousand 675 rubles with the regional operator JSC "Tambov Network Company". A similar agreement with the same company "Bastion" concluded December 26, 2017. Prior to this, Bastion LLC entered into contracts with organizations in Nikiforovsky district for smaller amounts.

Nadezhda Shurkhovetskaya, photo of the author and Oksana Denisova, «7x7»


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