January 20, 2020

We are increasingly witnessing all kinds of environmental disasters around the world, but more often it is about Russia, where the causes of loss of lives and ecosystem damage are not industrial, but negligence and irresponsibility of people.

In Russia, such events occur with enviable frequency: fires in Siberia, a tragedy with a mysterious nuclear submarine in the Far North, explosions at explosive factories and ammunition depots… And this is not a complete list.

Another disaster occurred on October 19 near the village of Shchetinkino, Kuraginsky district of the Krasnoyarsk Territory on the Seiba River (a river in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the right-bank tributary of the Sisim river, which is the right-bank tributary of one of the longest and most full-flowing rivers in the world and Russia – The Yenisei): a collapse of a cascade from five dams of technological reservoirs of a gold mining artel. According to accidentally leaked information, workers’ dormitories and several residential buildings were flooded in the village, the death toll — 17 people, three are considered missing.

But this is not a complete picture of the tragedy – mercury was detected in water samples taken at the emergency!!! The traces of mercury in the water samples indicate that the company used an outdated and currently prohibited method of gold mining. This is likely, since mercury was widely used in the gold mining industry of the USSR.

This information is also confirmed by the incident happened on Russia 1 television channel, where the program of the famous Russian TV presenter Andrey Malakhov dedicated to this event, was removed from broadcasting for all citizens of the Russian Federation, except for the Siberian region and the Far East. It turns out that independent experts participated therein, and the results of an independent laboratory test were presented, which confirmed the “tens and hundreds of times” excess of the permissible concentration of various elements, including mercury, in the Seiba River.

Subsequently, the program was completely removed from the web. And the official explanations of the press service of Russia 1 looked at least strange: the program had been pre-planned for broadcasting in Siberia and the Far East only.

A few days later, local officials of the regional Ministry of Ecology began to state the absence of mercury in water samples at the dams site, referring to the results of studies of the regional department of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources.

In the end, all has come down to the opening of an investigation of a case of violation of safety rules during work and loud statements by officials on the need for “thorough” inspections. The question of the mercury in water at the site of this emergency and the possible negative consequences for the health of the population and the river ecosystem has been put aside.

However, this is not surprising. The Russian authorities are known for their dislike of telling the «hard» truth. They try to keep secret any information discrediting their reputation, then soften it, and recognize the obvious only in case of stalemate.

Moreover, this is easy to do in the country where the media sources are under the total control of the state, which in the name of preserving the image of the ruling circles sorts and filters information, covering only “necessary events”. Though the main question is still to ensure the physical safety of citizens, not only in Russia, but sometimes considering the scale of disasters, beyond of it! Russia, as the true successor of the USSR, very typically conceals the facts threatening with scandals, civil disturbances, journalistic investigations, and paying compensation to the victims. It hides when it can, when it cannot – it searches for the “guilty”. But it does not draw conclusions. And given that in Russia there are still many “sensitive, dirty” objects that can become a “delayed-time bomb”, all of us can only hope for a miracle.

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