ILL WIND BLOWS PROFIT FOR IGOR ZYUZIN AND HIS MECHEL STEEL AND COAL COMPANY — IN CHELYABINSK WHERE THERE IS PROFIT, THERE’S CORRUPTION
By John Helmer, Moscow
Sergei Ivanov had been in charge of protecting Russia’s environment for just ten weeks when he arrived in Chelyabinsk city last November 1. The former Kremlin chief of staff and principal advisor to President Vladimir Putin took with him a large delegation of federal officials, including a deputy prime minister, the minister of natural resources and environment, and the chief of the environmental control agency, Rosprirodnadzor, to meet Boris Dubrovsky, the Chelyabinsk governor (lead image, right).
Much was promised for cleaning up the air of the city and region. A month later, on December 5, President Vladimir Putin visited Chelyabinsk region, and flew by helicopter with Dubrovsky over several of the worst air pollution areas. Dubrovsky announced that he favoured a new set of air control standards for enforcement by federal and regional governments. Putin replied with the acknowledgement that air pollution was especially serious in Chelyabinsk. He claimed: “we need to encourage entrepreneurs, and industry to apply the latest technology, the best technology available. This program starts to work, and I very much hope that it will have the desired effect in 2017.”
Then in mid-January the smog struck Chelyabinsk city. Ivanov, Dubrovsky and Putin had all failed to prevent the longest air pollution crisis in the city for years. Mechel’s owner, Igor Zyuzin (lead image, left), had succeeded in keeping his plants operating with minimal interruption, a promise to do better, and no criminal charges. A local environmental activist says: “People in the west think Putin is so powerful he can change the outcome of elections in the US, UK, France and Germany. So how come he can’t put a stop to the говно in the Chelyabinsk air coming from one oligarch who owns the plants?” (more…)