Antinuclear action in Belarus

21 August 1998



The press release of campaign " For nuclearfree Belarus"

International ecological march " For nuclearfree Belarus ", which began on August 2 in Byhov region of Mogilev district, was resolutely forbidden on next day. The participants of the march were detained under the instruction of local authorities and departed from Byhov region.

This march was conceived by activists of an ecological movement of various countries of East Europe and Russia in connection with the increased pressure " Nuclear lobby " in Belarus, submitted by Institute of Energy problems under a
management of A.Mihalevich, insisting on  necessities of NPP construction in
the country . The march is a part of the ecological project "Vjaselka" (Rainbow) of campaign <For nuclearfree Belarus>, designed on enough long existence - while
belorussian "nuclearists" have their plans. In this project the citizens of Belarus, Russia, Poland and Germany participate. By the organizers the russian and belorussian  <Rainbow Keepers> , belorussian movement <Ecoresistanse>, fraction " Klok" of group "School - two" , ecoanarchists from other European countries.

The march passed on areas, in which the NPP consrtruction is possible. "Nuclearists" have chosen now four areas:
Byhov, Shklov, Gorky regions of Mogilev district and Dubrovno region in
Vitebsk district. The ecological activists have decided to walk on these areas with the purpose of direct acquaintance with ecological situation in them. Also one of tasks was the acquaintance to the people opinion about construction of nuclear station near to their house.

Their way "vjaselkas"  began from the south of Byhov region, which grounds
are polluted with radionucleds of Chernobyl NPP. And at once have appeared under supervision of local militia and KGB. At the station Toschicy where arrived
by the morning train 12 activists have met two machines with 7 employees of
both departments in the civilian and in the form, which have asked to show the documents and to tell about intentions as on to the form the march by nothing differs from tourism, even ecological, at once, as is spoken "to take away" did not
become). The active workers have informed, that they participate in an ecological walk along Dnieper, and, after copying passports data, the militiaman has permitted them to follow further.

In two large villages - Nizhnie Toschicy and Novy Byhov activistse workers
met with the inhabitants, distributed prepared ecological literature, acquainted with a situation of energy in Belarus and variants of it development.

>From the  first day "vjaselkas" on a route densely supervised the KGB car
(about a departmental belonging of the machine have informed in the evening the local inhabitants who have come with a guitar ). On the next day of especial activity was not appreciable, and ecologists came to Nvy Byhov. But in morning the camp was visited by delegation of militia grades, which offered "the leader" follow them to the regional authorities.
Stas Markelov has decided to go, as the lawyer, he speaks well with the
representatives of authority. Militianers have advised " to not enter contacts with local population ". It is necessary to note, that the militia has shown itself with best side, very politely concerning to the participants of a march. That in any way is
impossible to tell about the chairman of Byhov region, who literally threated to Stas, accusing ecologists in infringements the law obout the assemblies, mitings, processions etc. The heads threatened, that if the active workers will continue the activity, for them wait large troubles, also demanded to removed from the regiona. Most characteristic declarations were " anybody you here did not call, local  inhabitants know all information"," there is nothing here to go", " we better than you understand nuclear problems ", " the march is illegal, because nobody has
consulted to us ". To the chief of Byhov militia was actually ordered to
arrest the participants of a march.

By not waiting returning of Stas " vjaselkas" were going in the further way,
but to go on foot it was not necessary - everyone were brought up in militia car in Byhov. There them has met the chief of militia, and sense of conversation was
possible to reduce the militia anything against the participants of a march
has not, but is compelled to interfere because of a position of regional sdministration. It was offered to the participants of a march itself to leave territory for three, and then - for six hours, differently militia will be compelled all to arrest. On this offer the refusal has followed. Then the byhov militia on their
transport has taken out "vjaselkas" in Mogilev.
In general militianers displayed sympathy and solidarity  to the participants of an ecological march, and one of them even has informed, that it is very pleased, by seeing among "vjaselkas"  a lot of belorussians.

Till August 6 "vjaselkas " remained on turists base in Mogilev and cameto
the decision to change the form of a march - moving of one large  group too attracted and frightened the local heads, besides, the participants of a march were very simple be for supervising and for detaining.
Now, being based in mogilev, ecologists have accepted the decision to replace tactics and to continue a march like divide on small groups and go to not involved arias to distribute there literature and to communicate with the people.

Groups till 2-3 persons of steel to leave from Mogilev by trains, buses and hich-hiking in villages, on which it was not possible to pass on an initial route. 6 and August 7 such small groups have visited cities and villages of Byhov area, where carried the literature in schools and the libraries also met the people.

Dialogue with the people, living in immediate proximity to possible place of
NPP construction, has shown discrepancy of any information about an opportunity or impossibility constructions of station. Among the population all hearings go: from complete decision of a question of NPP construction up to that is already decided to build station in neibour region. In, overwhelming, the majority the people are set - up sharply against NPP. Chernobyl has shown, that the peace atom " is dangerous ".

August 8 the march has moved in Shklov region and have continued to use new
tactics. Meetings with the local inhabitants have shown, that the people do not own the authentic information.

August 10 in Shklov participants of a march have lead authorized 2-hours picket near the building of regional administration under the slogans" Chernobyl we have not enough ", " The Atom can't be peaceful " and with propaganda of development of alternative energy. The NPP from improvised materials was
carried out. Stas Pachobut from Grodno playing a role "reactor". Eventually " reactor has blown up " and " the peaceful atom " has become to run on all declared picket territory , hiding from the liquidators .Running up to observing for picket represents of militia, " the peaceful atom " informed: " I'm peaceful Atom, I was pulled out on will, my sight guarantees your potential " and looked each through black glasses. Militia was in a shock, the reaction of two KGB employees in the civilian was comic -- they synchronously have examined their trousers.

The authorities have tried to limit access to the inhabitants to picket place. The part of a street, on which was carried out picket, was blocked for a movement. During the picket activists distributed the brochures and leaflets about nuclear energy and opportunity of development of alternative energy in Belarus.

August 11 the small groups have gone away in Kopys, Orsha and Dubrovno,
where have distributed in schools and libraries the literature, have acquainted the people with a march, have given interview for the regional newspapers.

August 12 all participants of a march were going in Minsk for preparation to
to the theatrelized representation near Academy of Sciences .
August 13, in Minsk has passed scientific eco-sociological conference " Ecological-economic and social problems of energy in Belarus", on which participants of a march " For nuclearfree Belarus "  have told about the purposes, tasks and results of the project "Rainbow" and  also have informed the impressions about moods the people living there. In particular, the population was arked, that these areas has not any authentic information and very much is pessimistic concerns to an opportunity of the influence on acceptance the decisions on NPPconstruction.
The executive structures have the unlimited authority, an everyone depend on the heads. Only wide the knowledge of the people can correct a situation.

In next statements of belorussian scientists were covered questions of global ecological problems, genofund and health of belorussians, economic, ecological and social problems of nuclear power. The reports about fuel and energy have
sounded, role and place of renewable sources of energy,questions of developm
ent in the country solar and wind energy.

In a past round table " Relay Race of generations " were mentioned questions
of the decision of ecological problems in Belarus, role of public movements and youth in this process . Thus has come to light some discrepancy in understanding by the separate representatives of these  "different generations " places of the youth in modern processes of development societies, its interests and priorities.

August 14 at 12 o'clock began picket near Academy of Sciences. With the slogans "Atom can't be peaceful", "Chernobyl we have not enough "," NPP in Belarus?  Thank you, no! ", the participants have dressed  incostumes symbolizing " peaceful atom ", " energy of the sun ", "water", "wind" and "biomass". In spite of the fact that the place of realization of the action was away from the basic movement of the people, they came to ask " for what is agitated? ". The action was begun!

" The Peaceful atom " promised a lot of energy and smile wished to all present of kind health, and others, " alternative energy " convinced the passers - in danger of nuclear energy and advantages their opportunities of clean energy for Belarus. The passers  received the leaflets, calling to develop alternative energy, and brochures, informing about unnessesority of NPP constructions  in Belarus.

On the action  came some scientists, acting against NPP, and lot of the journalists, mainly from belorussian newspapers, radio and TV.

Open-air concert under the name "nuCLEARFREE LAND" began at 23 o'clock on August 14 at the Minsk sea,were from Minsk the bus plied. Wishing to get on it was so many that in the first bus - "organizational" - have not got even some musicians and organizers.  The following  bus  also was taken by storm by fans. So, which has stayed, the musicians and organizers could reach only next bus.Because of it and other casual overlays the concert has not received rather "ecological" kind. But in other all was not bad. 14 groups, mainly belorussians from different cities of the country and straight-eidge group  <Sky Grain> from Moscow took part in it.
The representation proceeded till 6 hours of saturday o'clock.

All musicians acted free-of-charge in support of development alternative
energy in Belarus. Sponsored this concert ecological organization A SEED from the Netherlands.

Natasha Podobed