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Raspadskaya Coal Mine in Kemerovo oblast, Russia

Shor indigenous peoples resist against coal extractivism, mine explosions, and the death of 67 miners. Any form of protest either Shor or miners is criminalized by officials.


Raspadskaya Coal Mines are situated near Mezhdurechensk town in Kemerovo Oblast in the southern part of the West Siberia. The Oblast is well-known coal mining regions with an extremely degraded environment [1] [2] [7]. The Raspadskaya mines are owned by Evraz company that also manages OAO Yuzhnaya in Mezhdurechensk [3].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Raspadskaya Coal Mine in Kemerovo oblast, Russia
Country:Russian Federation
State or province:Kemerovo
Location of conflict:Mezhdurechensk
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Coal extraction and processing
Specific commodities:Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 2018, Raspadskaya Coal Company produced 23 million tonnes of coal and sold over 13.8 million tonnes [2].

Level of Investment:N/A
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:N/A
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:Evraz ZSMK
UK Yuzhnaya OAO from Russian Federation
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- Shor activists: Civic organisation “Revival of Kazas and the Shor
- IWGIA, the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs
- ECOSOC, based in Copenhagen, Denmark
- Institute for Ecology and Action Anthropology, Cologne, Germany
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
International ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Shor people, miners
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires
Potential: Global warming, Air pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Land dispossession, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Violent targeting of activists
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:For miners, the government negotiated a reparation of the mines and to improve safety and working conditions. For the indigenous community however, no alternative was developed at all.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Both Shor indigenous resistance against the coal extraction on one hand, and mine explosions and the death of 67 miners on the other hand have not resulted in social-environmentally justice. Instead, the accident is tried to be "resolved" with "new technology", whereas Shor indigenous people are either displaced in exile or criminalized by officials.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[7] Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) 2015 Report: Discrimination against Shor communities in Myski municipal district, Kemerovo Oblast, Russian Federation
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[7] The Guardian: Russian coal mine blast death toll rises
[click to view]

[5] Siberian Indigenous Activists Flee Russia Fearing For Safety
[click to view]

[4] Reuters 2010: Russia's Putin unleashes coal mine safety shakeup
[click to view]

[2] NS Energy News: Raspadskaya Coal Mines, Kemerovo Oblast
[click to view]

[5] Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 2018: Siberian Indigenous Activists Flee Russia Fearing For Safety
[click to view]

[6] Bussines and Human Rights Resource Centre 2016: Russia: Mining companies, including OAO Yuzhnaya, violate indigenous Shor peoples' rights, say activists; includes company comments
[click to view]

[1] Acts of intimidation, criminalization and other types of activities

with the aim to prevent human rights work of indigenous activists in Russia. By: Dmitry Berezhkov (Arctic Consult, director) and Pavel Sulyandziga (International fund “Batani”, chair of board)
[click to view]

[1] - Acts of intimidation, criminalization and other types of activities

with the aim to prevent human rights work of indigenous activists in Russia.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:JMA and KH
Last update31/07/2020
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