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Arctic Forum 2019 moved from Arkhangelsk to St. Petersburg. Possible reason: waste protests

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The Arctic Forum in 2019 will take place in St. Petersburg, although it was supposed to be held in Arkhangelsk. The organizing committee of the event considered that the city was not ready to receive a large number of guests. This was reported on January 17 by the Directorate for Media Relations of the Roskongress Foundation, the organizer of the forum.

On January 17, a meeting of the organizing committee for the preparation and holding of the International Arctic Forum "The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue" was held in Moscow, which was to be held for the second time in Arkhangelsk on April 9-10, 2019. It was decided that the event would be held in April at the Expoforum center in St. Petersburg. According to the members of the organizing committee, Arkhangelsk is not ready to receive such a number of guests. The chairman of the organizing committee, Yury Trutnev, said that in 2017 about 2.5 thousand people came to the forum, in 2019 — "much more is expected".

The main events of the forum were to be held at the Northern Arctic Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov in Arkhangelsk. In September 2018, Dmitry Medvedev supported the proposal of the governor of the region Igor Orlov to allocate additional funds to improve the infrastructure of the university. From the government reserve fund the Arkhangelsk region was to receive 300 million rubles in 2018 and 200 million rubles — in 2019. Now the university is being renovated.

According to Yury Trutnev, measures for the improvement of Arkhangelsk will continue:

"We do not live from forum to forum. We have a task — the development of the Arctic zone and the development of the Arctic territory. Arkhangelsk is one of the largest arctic territories. All planned work on all objects must be made. We will control it."

During the forum in Arkhangelsk, however, several events are planned. For example, an Icebreaker Expedition, organized jointly with Rosatom, will be held for the participants. The Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region, Igor Orlov, together with the Deputy Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Arthur Chilingarov, have agreed on their financing.

Some residents of Arkhangelsk believe that this change is not connected with problems in the infrastructure, but with protest actions against the importation of waste into the territory of the Arkhangelsk region from Moscow and the Moscow region. The organizer of the protest actions on December 2 and February 3, Dmitry Sekushin, commented on the situation:

"The transfer is associated only with protests. Otherwise, the decision [on holding the forum in St. Petersburg] would have been taken a year ago."

Earlier, The New Times magazine published an article about several analytical notes with recommendations to the authorities of the Arkhangelsk region and regional media on "restoring political control over the environmental situation in the Lenskoy District". To the beginning of the international forum, the regional authorities should have cleared the information space from the topic of the Moscow household waste. So far, they have failed.

The International Arctic Forum "The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue" has been held since 2010. This is the largest platform in Russia to discuss cooperation with foreign partners, current problems and prospects for the development of the Arctic. In 2017, the forum was first held in Arkhangelsk. The following Arctic forums were also planned to be held here once every two years.

In the summer of 2018, residents of the Arkhangelsk region learned that the Technopark company started building a landfill for municipal solid waste from Moscow with an area of ​​5 thousand hectares near the Shies station in the Lenskoy District. It provides for round-the-clock acceptance and unloading from 55 to 90 cars with garbage — up to five trains a day. Residents of two regions — the Arkhangelsk region and Komi — opposed this project. They held numerous rallies in different cities, organized round-the-clock duty at Shies station, initiated regional referendums on the issue of banning the transportation of garbage from other regions, wrote appeals to security and supervisory structures.

Karina Zabolotnaya, «7x7»


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