The most persistent protest in Russia

Fighting with the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company has created an amazing phenomenon. Tens of thousands of people are involved in it, but they put their hopes only on the president.
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In the Voronezh region continues to grow, perhaps the most massive social protest in contemporary Russia. Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company wants to develop nickel deposits located here. Residents are afraid that steelmakers will transform the Black Earth into a desert. Here everything is mixed: unconditional trust in Vladimir Putin's support of activists called "extremists." The protest was involved scandalous management of economic security and anti-corruption, the Ministry of Interior. Even the Ukrainian events have affected him. Hopes for a painless end to the conflict there: we have to somehow convince more than 90 percent of the local population that the GOK in a few kilometers from their homes - it's good. Well, or the president to intercede.

South-east of the Voronezh region, we turn to the road from the district center to the village of Elan Novohopersk-knee, and drive on the dirt road along the field. A few hundred meters begins fence entwined with barbed wire. Here, on the territory of about 500 hectares, Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (HSK) conducts geological exploration. In the future, the company plans to build here GOK and extract nickel from Elan and Elkinskogo fields. Places here agrarian, nature is beautiful, the river very close to Hopper. Therefore, anti-nickel production stands the vast majority of the residents are located within a radius of 50-70 kilometers settlements. Since 2012, there continues, perhaps the most powerful protest movement in Russia. It survived even "belolentochnye 'performances in Moscow and other cities and disappear is not going anywhere. In group "Against nickel mining in the Black Earth" in the social network "Odnoklassniki" is almost 70 thousand people. This is despite the fact that in Novohopersk live about eight thousand people, Borisoglebsk little more than 60 thousand in Volgograd Uryupinsk next door - 40 thousand. According to the Institute of Sociology, against nickel mining advocated 98 per cent of the local district centers and villages.

Two fields are seven small rigs. We drove up to the gate behind them visible some outbuildings. The guards on untozde immediately begin to shoot us in the video, first from the window of his trailer, and then openly come out to the street.

"Who ordered to hang your tent Cossack flag?" - Asks the guards one of the leaders of this movement, the businessman Valery Davydov. Behind the fence at some house really hanging blue-yellow-red flag Vsevelikogo Don troops. Cossacks, it must be said, are in these locations poavtoritetnee authorities. "Senior" - reluctantly answers guard. "The senior then?" - Continues to burn Davydov. "Cossacks" - shrugs guard. "What did you say ?! - Finally loses Davydov. - Are you any relation to the Cossacks do not have! Don Cossacks on the big circle Vsevelikogo army decided that the nickel mining project is harmful to the environment. " And that absolutely hurt gap-toothed guard, adds: "When his thirty pieces of silver will get, do not forget to insert the teeth, and it looks absolutely unpresentable."

The guards just shrug their shoulders and tucked in a trailer. Verbal altercation - notthe most serious that can happen here. For example, Easter is one of the opponents razgovevshihsya nickel mining rammed the gate in his car; dents on them and now striking. Activists tried to block, but he only swore, rammed the gate in the opposite direction and left.

Davydov said that he - a hereditary Cossack. Born in Uryupinsk, then went to Leningrad, athletics, he worked at the university, and after the collapse of the USSR has left in business. The latter three, he Uryupinsk spends more time than in St. Petersburg. Helps to publish newspapers, organizes meetings, in talks with the authorities.

These talks in the retelling Davydova quite gracefully illustrate the role and influence of political parties on life in Russia. He spoke with the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the very imbued with the mood of protest and said it will charge to oversee nickel mining theme Duma deputy Maxim Shingarkin of the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources. Opponents of production when they learned about it, gasped with outrage, because ChiGarkin shortly before it almost in the air "First Channel" named them "extremists." As a result, the Liberal Democratic Party propaganda train in Novohopersk was booed had come to the station, half of the city. Deputy Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Vladimir Kashin incendiary speech at a rally in Borisoglebsk, and then he and his aides stopped answering phone calls and letters. Recently Davydov told about the problem of the leader of "Fair Russia" Sergei Mironov, and now looks forward to support from the party, but she is silent. "United Russia" in 2012 for the construction of mining and processing plant neither responded once.

In any case, in September 2014 and in the Voronezh and Volgograd regions will be the election of governors, so that the policy has many times come here and say the right words. The day after the inspection fields Davydov is planning to talk about the problems of nickel acting Volgograd region Andrey Bocharov governor - he is a pre-election visit will Uryupinsk.


Structure antinikelevogo protest, perhaps unique. It is not directed againstgovernment: Vladimir Putin enjoys great support here, his actions in relation to the Crimea and Ukraine are approved unconditionally. Some Cossacks and simply sympathizers even visited Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which supported the self-proclaimed People's Republic (though sympathetic prefer not to dwell on these trips in a conversation with a reporter). Putin here feel only light still hurt. The phrase "In Ukraine, it is a good fellow, and for their crap some muddying" I heard a small interpretations of five times per day from a variety of people. Against nickel Cossacks act, small businesses, farmers, pensioners and just ordinary residents of regional centers, which consider 20 thousand rubles excellent salary.

This protest has never been one and indivisible. He does not have a leader as such, there are only people who have authority among fellow countrymen. Borisoglebsk - these are some activists in other Novohopersk, Uryupinsk others. Sometimes they agree on joint actions, sometimes jealous and conflict. Sometimes zapodazrivayut that certain figures "aboutWe were given UMMC "(sometimes these suspicions have grounds). The quarrel over the right to be moderated in the same group in the "Classmates". Cursing because "while we harrow you away," throw suspicion: "Swear on the icon, the protest movement that does not drain!". And, of course, all of them local - this protest is not controlled either from Moscow or the West (in what activists are often, but not very convincingly trying to blame the government). Unless Davydov long ago went to St. Petersburg, but still the coordinator of the movement "In Defense Chopra", activist and poet Konstantin Rubakhin lived in Voronezh, Moscow, Prague and Belgrade. But his father was a native of the village next to the Alferovka deposits. For strangers here do not consider them.

The protest took shape in 2012, after belonging to the UMMC "Mednogorsky copper and sulfur plant" won the competition for the development of deposits of the "Norilsk Nickel". In the second half of 2012 and the first half of 2013, in the district centers, as well as directly in the field, where it is planned to build a plant, to hold a meeting of up to ten thousand people. The meetings did not try to negotiate, transferabilitySealy them with the central squares in the overgrown weeds soccer fields on the outskirts. But they are still collecting as many people as there was about the last time during the Soviet era on May Day.

Not all stocks were peaceful. In February 2013 the Cossacks foiled the beginning of exploration work, breaking, including whips, enterprise "Voronezhgeologiya" leaders Kopeikin brothers. In May, during a fight with employees of private security company was beaten Cossack Ataman Igor Zhitenev. He was in the hospital with a concussion and broken ribs. June 22, 2013 meeting in the field almost ended this fight. Angered nickel mining opponents construction trailers overturned and burned rigs (two men received suspended sentences for "swamp" the 318th article of the Criminal Code - violence against a representative of authorities, another man was charged with arson). UMMC damage amounted to 60 million rubles.

Certainly, the protest is in constant development of law enforcement agencies, they are engaged in the FSB and the Interior Ministry. Of course, the contradictions between the leaderE play representatives of UMMC. This resulted in the fall of last year to the scandal, which has been simmering ever since. And that even eight months after it began full of surprises.


Since living in Borisoglebsk entrepreneur Mikhail Bezmenskim we met in February last year. He took me in his native district center of Povorino and talked about the fun of corrupt morals of local officials. For example, one of them allegedly managed to acquire ownership of the building of the district administration and rent it subordinate structures - from the department of the registrar to the "United Russia" cell. In November 2013, he became a member of Bezmensky corruption scandal, which nearly wiped out all of the protest movement.

November 27, he was arrested while receiving 15 million rubles from the deputy director of UMMC safety Yuri Nemchinov. The week before Bezmensky introduced Nemchinov Ataman Zhiteneva. Nemchinov He also lectured more than a million rubles. As a result, chieftain and businessman were arrested, accused of extortion, transported to Moscow and laterarrested Tver court of the capital.

And on the same day delivered in Bezmensky capital called Constantine Rubakhin and strongly requested to meet with him. The meeting, which could have ended very badly for the environment, did not take place only because each of the interlocutors insisted on their own venue. As a result, Rubakhin first call from Voronezh, and said that he spoke with him Bezmensky detained as Zhitenev. And then he phoned the concierge from the porch of his house and said that it really offers just eight policemen. Not going home Rubakhin disappeared and still does not advertise its location, despite the fact that in the case of extortion, he appears as a witness to the maximum.

Of course, the detention and Bezmenskogo Zhiteneva passed by the criminal chronicle of all federal TV channels, and the protest movement has been compromised to the maximum. It has weakened and become more scattered. Install rigs in early 2014, the year does not interfere with nobody. And activists more quarreled among themselves. Bezmenskogo none of them is not justified. The same Rubakhin said (wecommunicated through social networks): "Misha himself admitted that he could not resist the money." Shortly before his arrest, he distanced himself from the movement, and bought a car Audi, which by local standards - prohibitive luxury.

By Zhiteneva the people more sympathetic attitude. Local consider that much who has passed after injuries Ataman Nemchinov simply watered before losing control, and then handed him a bag with money. "I read the transcript of record of their conversation. Igor say, come on, take the money, and he answered, now I'll tell you how I served in the landing. And then in deciphering the remark "is an abstract conversation lasting an hour and forty minutes." Well, what of it bleeder! "- Tells me the main opponent of nickel production from Novokhopersk Nelly Rudchenko. And Boris and activist, entrepreneur Svetlana Kuznetsova says otherwise: "If I spotted myself, I would not have asked to protect me, but on the contrary would have told me to push even further. Because disgraced. "

Case Bezmenskogo and Zhiteneva would be ordinary by the standards of the capital. However, the disposal of Znak.comazalos 16-page letter from a Moscow jail Bezmenskogo "Vodnik". It is not only an entrepreneur does not recognize his guilt, but he says that he was put under pressure by members of the management of economic security and anti-corruption (GUEB and PC). The one management, the chief of which Denis Sugrobov and his deputy Boris Kolesnikov had recently been arrested on charges of giving bribes to provocations. Together with them were arrested and more than a dozen operatives. Bezmensky says he was also triggered.

And activists added that the police and UMMC worked in close conjunction. The fact that his wife is in jail retired general Sugrobova Jan Tikhonov head of the company Glencore International AG, which has long been a trader of copper produced UMMC.

The protests "were provoked by the UMMC employees. The fact that the fight with the population was very profitable, because it stood a good budget (podkupaktivistov, construction barriers, bribes to officials, etc.), and senior management intentionally introducedelk misleading "- says Bezmensky. He confirmed that Zhitenev took the money in a state of extreme intoxication, and that even after their transfer to say that will distribute them to the Cossacks, and leave yourself only compensation for injuries received earlier. Speaking about himself, Bezmensky stressed that did not extort money, and took them for organizing a meeting similar to the one that was with Zhiteneva. At the same time, he was not the initiator. And supposedly Nemchinov would pass through Konstantin 50-70 million rubles Rubakhin. After that the last would be guaranteed to be detained.

"I was taken to an office and said that now I will talk with the principal, whose name is Boris (I did not know that this is General Kolesnikov). I was taken to a room, at the table sat a young man in a very expensive suit. The room was still a few people - Bezmensky describes his meeting with high-ranking security official. - BB He said that I should take part in the "operative experiment". I had to call K.Rubahinu and arrange to meet him. I explained that I did not communicate with Rubakhin about 6-7 months,but one did not care. BB I asked: "Do you think if Rubakhin offer a good amount of money it will take?". I said that is unlikely, and for what? "If you say that you UMMC gave a lot of money and you want to share," I said he is unlikely to take something from UMMC. Then BB I asked for the money to go to someone from the staff. The study brought the bag, it was 7 million euro banknotes of 500 euros, the bag was brown leather. BB He said: "In an extreme case will put the bag next to him, and we do it as needed." I called Rubakhin said that my wife and I in Moscow that we have come for shopping - said in general, as taught operatives. "

Bezmensky said that after the arrest of Kolesnikov and Sugrobova investigator in his case looked very worried. One day he brought him out of the room, where there was an interrogation, in the toilet. "Let your 159 th (fraud - will do, maybe get suspended," - allegedly told investigators suspect.

"Just come a time when Michael stopped being afraid, - he told me his lawyer Ruslan Chanidze. - He was subjected to threats and harassment, and now appearseh hope. I as a lawyer of his guilt can not see it provoked. Composition of extortion is not here. " Chanidze already transferred to the FSB and Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation statement to check the facts of the letter. In response, according to him, Bezmenskogo transferred to a cell with the worst living conditions.


With Nellie Rudchenko Novokhopersk we meet in the cafe, our neighboring tables pushed together, there are a wake, a couple of times the participants stood up and sang a prayer. After a memorial to us at the elderly woman, and asked how things were going in the nickel deposits. Rudchenko said that Urjupinsk visited Sergei Mironov, has promised to do. "Oh, finally became president of the deal - smiling in response to a woman, not even associating Mironov as an independent political figure. - Maybe, finally, and we will. "

"I've been working the information center", - explains to me Rudchenko. In recent months, protests against the construction of the plant a few slept. Affected and the criminal case, and the Ukrainian events. At the last meeting in March, says Rudchenko, someone from the podiumunkindly said about Putin, and dozens of people immediately turned around and left angry. Activists are trying to influence the regional authorities through the regional council on the issue of development of nickel - is something like a public coordination platforms. But they are there or not allowed, by replacing loyal environmentalists. Or break still fails, then get up from their seats and leaving officials and representatives of UMMC, disrupting quorum. Voronezh Regional Administration people picketing almost daily since October last year. On one of the videos in the "Classmates" Acting Governor Alexei Gordeyev says picketers and pointedly turned his back on them.

"Meetings have already lost their significance - understand Rudchenko. - All we want to convey to the people, we have already told. Looking for a new form of protest is not even a proof that we are right. " The activist says that he and his friends want to do "evening in defense of black earth", invite scientists, farmers, and veterans to be sure to show the Cossack ensemble. Think develop ecotourism - by inviting people from other regions, inbe ordered nature and local attractions. We have collected about 80 thousand signatures on a petition asking them not to extract nickel. Finally, trying to hold a local or regional referendum, but it is almost impossible under the current legislation. "Hot Shots happens to overlap the name of the road, but we do not do this - insists Rudchenko. - We have, and two or three administrativki everyone without Ukrainian events. Will close, you know. "

UMMC its part tries to show that the development of deposits nothing serious, opened an office in Novohopersk, children's football team fund. But the company is losing the information war, and educational work, in fact, floods. This can be seen even if the rumors that fly here in a few hours. It is said that mined in the area Novokhopersk will not nickel and uranium (its mine in the Voronezh region too, but in the neighboring region). Ostensibly night saw trucks with Kazakh numbers and icons "Beware of radiation." And the water from the wells such as the leaves, and its quality deteriorates. Finally, yakNickel stocks have here may be greatly exaggerated, and UMMC itself abandon this project - mine was explored during the Soviet era, and the Registry were then commonplace.

To refute these rumors and, especially, not to allow the emergence of new, a feeling that there is no one. At a specially created site UMMC "Voronezh nickel" refers only to the fact that in 2016 "it is planned to complete the exploration, after which a final decision on the appropriateness of their development." And in 2022 "when confirming the feasibility of mining" first ore can be mined.

The UMMC questions refused to answer. From a press release issued after the meeting, which grew in the destruction of property, we can conclude that for the protests, according to the company's copper, yet someone was standing. "The crowd stood young men athletic build, dressed in white caps, some faces were covered with white handkerchiefs, and behind backpacks were filled with firebombs. It is these people control the crowd, the firstbubbled performed active illegal acts of destruction of property ", - said, in particular, in this text.

In general, it says that in the activity UMMC "strategically focused on the development of the national economy, the creation in Russia of modern, environmentally friendly production, not only providing jobs, decent wages and tax revenues, but also the socio-economic development of territories, on which they are located. " With the company "is not only fully complies with all requirements of the current legislation in the field of environmental protection, but also fundamentally focused on the use of the most modern and advanced technologies that guarantee high production safety, including environmental." Finally, "in the Voronezh region UMMC fully complies with all requirements of the legislation, which was officially confirmed by the prosecutor's office of the Voronezh region, and regional management of Rosprirodnadzor. Has a policy of openness to the media, the public and publicRGANIZATION ".

Activists are preparing the next meeting antinikelevy June 22. We arrived in Borisoglebsk, there Uryupinsky Davydov activist and activist Boris and Gleb Kuznetsov debate whether to raise the topic of protection rally Igor Zhiteneva (about Bezmenskom even speech does not go). Before the compromise parties far.

"Talk about a single movement - it is, of course, a utopia - writes me Rubakhin. - His at this geography and the full range of social groups involved can not be. Very nice to have a common communication platform and likeness of the coalition. It is necessary to constantly maintain. A single movement, one leader - all of this is easier to break, send the wrong direction, to emasculate. Well, like, "United Russia" this. " The activist assumes that the nickel industry still will not start, and protest to win. It is possible that the force: "I think that we can handle in a year. I hope that by the winter. But it may happen before - people spontaneously decide to have themselves a year ago on June 22 ".

"This will cause the governor Gordeev Putin and tell him: you bastard, what people Ridicule? That's our situation and razrulitsya "- mechtaet Kuznetsova.