Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Ecology: The paths of Europe & Ukraine diverge


By Borotba (the Struggle), Kharkov, Ukraine

Many people associate the period of Ukraine's independence with the rampant corruption, lawlessness and endless power struggle.  Political elites regularly replacing each other, realizing that their stay in power is short-lived, seek to provide themselves with a comfortable life for the future, as well as to create the appearance of active work and keeping of promises taken before the population.

The rush toward momentary benefits leads to disregard of domestic and international legislation, inflation of a 'soap bubble' of achieved results, which inevitably bursts after the coming of another political team to power.

This problem also affected the spheres of ecology and international trade of Ukraine.  Under-funding of regulatory authorities, rise in corruption level, attempts of the country's leadership to quickly get out of the lingering crisis by saving on the careful attitude to nature led to disastrous results, the consequences of which have already affected the European Union (EU).

In particular, a contemptuous disregard of the environment has led to contamination of crops grown in Ukraine, exported to Europe.

We can take the situation in the Kharkov Oblast [province] of Ukraine as an example.  In Novovodolazhsky district of this region, local authorities issued a permit for utilization of industrial waste of the 'Shebelinkagazdobycha' company (a member of the 'Ukrgazdobycha' corporation, engaged in shale gas production) at a household waste dump. 


This dump occupies an area of five hectares and is located on the outskirts of the Nova Vodolaha village (about 50 km from the city of Kharkov.)

According to the environmental organization 'Kharkov environmental monitor', the waste of the 'Shebelinkagazdobycha' company utilized at this dump has an increased radioactive background.

The dump is also not specially equipped to store industrial waste, including oil refinery waste.  There is not a damp-proof course, dirt collectors and other necessary engineering constructions. Besides, the dump is located on the edge of the ravine, so that garbage and hazardous waste spread beyond it and this is technically impossible to prevent.  There are several perennial streams from the dump to the ravine, which flow through it to the tributary of the Olkhovatka River, then to the Mzha River and the Seversky Donets River.


All this led to the leakage of liquid waste into the soil and, as a consequence, to groundwater contamination.

In the immediate vicinity of the dump, there are fields of the major farms, the products of which are exported to the EU through agency firms [such as] Agrokom Novaya Vodolaga LLC.  The company is engaged in grain cultivation and storage, oil and animal fat production. Its capacity is 500 tons of products per day.  Vodolazhskoe LLC produces cereals, barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, rye, wheat and sunflower seeds.

Today, the export share to the EU only from the Kharkov Oblast of Ukraine is $300 million USD.  At the same time, 25% of the total export volume is food products and raw materials for their production (wheat, oils, fats, etc).  A significant part (75%) of products of this category are exported to Germany, Poland, and the Baltic countries.


Certainly, infected grain from Nova Vodolaha, in preparation for export, is cut [mixed] with cleaner grain from other regions of Ukraine.  But where is the guarantee that raw materials from Kharkov Oblast weren't used in production of a loaf of bread, which you bought somewhere in Hamburg?  There is no such guarantee.


So, the only adequate decision of the EU and Western European countries may be to tighten sanitary and environmental control of food products imported from Ukraine.  This proposal is made by a number of independent Ukrainian and European public organizations.  In our opinion, this step will not cause significant harm to the EU economy, but will preserve the health of EU citizens and will induce Ukrainian authorities to take environmental safety and international trade standards more seriously.

~  For long time we have some underground team of journalists there in that city, Kharkov, that is under iron fist of political repression by central Kiev government. So, our people sit quiet. Those people belong to radical socialist group Borotba (the Struggle). You can use the name of the group and in particular, their local coordinator, Pavel Zotov. He is now safe and he is out of Ukraine. (Sent by another Ukrainian political refugee now living in Russia.)

[When you note the location of the possible shale extraction zones (fracked gas) in this region of eastern Ukraine one can further see another reason the US-NATO have installed a puppet government in Kiev that is waging a war since 2014 against those who live so close to the Russian border.  The recent controversy surrounding Joe Biden's son, Hunter who was appointed to the board of a Ukrainian fossil fuel extraction corporation, is a key part of this story as well.   Bruce]

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