Anti-nuclear Movement in Belarus
Belarus and nuclear energy
The Chernobyl Disaster
In the disaster most of the damage has been and and after it is being done to the Republic of Belarus which has received 75% of the Chernobyl radiation. Having been destroyed and devastated many times throughout the centuries by conquerors, Belarus faced an invisible enemy this time, and the consequences of this fight may prove fatal for the over 10 million Belarusian people. That's why at the environmental summit in Brasil, a nuclear physicist Stanislau Shushkiewich, declared Belarus a zone of ecological catastrophe and thus shocked the summit's participants with the truth about Chernobyl. Some scientists assess the result of the Chernobyl explosion equivalent to 150 Hiroshimas...
How could it happen that the nuclear power station accident in the territory of the Ukraine affected Belarus so badly? The answer is simple: after the disaster the wind blew constantly in the direction of Belarus, the Chernobyl power station being located just 4 miles from the Belarus-Ukraine border. The Moscow newspapers wrote, after all that "fortunately the wind didn't blow in the direction of Kiev," which could otherwise be swept from the Earth's face. Yes, unfortunately it blew in the other direction where there also lived hundreds of thousands of people. The most contaminated area of Belarus is in the Homiel' region with a population of about 1.5 million people. Another huge pollution area is the Magilyow region which is rather far from Chernobyl. How could it happen that in some areas of the Magilyow region the radioactivity was the same as in the nucleus of the disaster 200 kilometers away? There's still no exact answer, but an investigaton conducted by the Belarus novelist and public figure Ales Adamowich showed that the huge radioactive cloud moving from Chernobyl to Moscow was shot at by Soviet chemical troops and then the cloud came down on Belarusian territory. Thus, one-fourth of the population of Belarus turned out to be living in the contaminated territories.
What did those May rains and south-east winds bring to Belarus? The total release of the radioactive substances was estimated at 18,500 million million becquerel, or 50 million curies. This is 2,500 times that of the the Windscale nuclear plant accident in England in 1957, and 16 million times that of the Three Mile Island incident in Pennsylvania in 1978. Nearly 30 radioactive isotopes had erupted from the burning reactor. Most of them were short lived, like iodine-131, tellurium-132, zirconium-95, or cerium-141. They affected the population mostly during the very first days and months after the disaster, and those days, by no means, were the most tragic, because the governments of Belarus and the Soviet Union not only didn't provide the people with the necessary instructions for protection, but even made the people, as usual, take part in the 1st of May demonstrations. Meanwhile, the children of the communist leaders themselves were far away from the dangerous zones, starting on the 1st day after the disaster, when the true but secret information was available to them.
Nuclear ambitions of goverment
A few years ago the ruling top started to consider venturesome project – the construction of a nuclear power plant . Lukashenka took a decision regardless of the public wishes and common sense. The decision was made with the active support of the international nuclear lobby. The construction is to be undertaken by a Russian corporation “Rosatom”. It is to be held in a seismically active zone, several dozens kilometers away from Lake Naroch – the largest lake in Belarus, which is ecologically unique for our country and is a tourist attraction. On the construction $4 billion will be spent, which otherwise could be outlaid for development of alternative energetics.
А callout for common actions against the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Belarus
26 April – the day of Chernobyl nuclear disaster
Present-day Belarus is a post-soviet police state with current neoliberal regime holding strong position. For already 14 years the country is run by one and the same person – Alexander Lukashenka, who used to be a populist, but now is openly pursuing antisocial reforms.
Fundamental political freedoms - of speech, of the press, of assembly - are not recognized in our country. Political opposition, independent trade unions and non-governmental organizations are suppressed. Political trials, preventive detentions, dispersions of peaceful gatherings – all this has become a norm of political practice in Belarus.
A few years ago the ruling top started to consider another venturesome project – the construction of a nuclear power plant (NPP). Lukashenka took a decision regardless of the public wishes and common sense. The decision was made with the active support of the international nuclear lobby. The construction is to be undertaken by a Russian corporation “Rosatom”. It is to be held in a seismically active zone, several dozens kilometers away from Lake Naroch – the largest lake in Belarus, which is ecologically unique for our country and is a tourist attraction. On the construction $4 billion will be spent, which otherwise could be outlaid for development of alternative energetics.
But the above-listed points pale before the fact that Belarus shared 70% of radioactive contamination after Chernobyl nuclear accident. But the government and the president are absolutely not concerned about that. They want to create a delayed-action bomb in the country, where one third of the territory is unfit for farming and most other activities.
We, “Antinuclear resistance”, an anarchist group, come out against nuclear power industry as a whole and against the NPP construction specifically in Belarus. A part of political forces in Belarus, including some 'oppositional' parties, supported the NPP construction. Unlike them we do not believe in NPP safety irrespective of the political regime, within which it is functioning and being constructed. Our activity is based upon non-authoritarian principles, we do not cooperate with any political parties, but we are eager to cooperate with ecological organizations and grassroots initiatives.
On 26 April, the day of memory about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, an annual demonstration “Charnobylski Shliah” (“The Chernobyl Path”) takes place in Minsk in commemoration of the accident and the people who became the immediate and lingering victims of it. Starting with the year of 1996 anarchists take part in the demo with ecological and antinuclear slogans. But nowadays the demonstration, instead of just mourning and commemorative event, is gaining a protest mood: in the country, where dozens of thousands people have died as a result of the nuclear accident aftermaths and hundreds of thousands have acquired accident-caused illnesses or become handicapped, a new NPP is to be constructed! And that is done according to the common practice of an authoritarian police state – not asking the people’s opinion, but just confronting them with the fact.
On 26 April we will again take a most active part in the “Charnobylski Shliah”, we’ll try to pass along to everyone our clear antinuclear position, will inform as many people as possible of the approaching danger. But now it is not enough! As an instrument of struggle against the state lawlessness we rely on the international support.
We urge anarchists, environmentalists and all concerned people to carry out solidarity actions on 26 April 2009. We call for a decentralized day of action of any form, which could help people learn something about our problem and stop the impudent authority and their sponsors from IAEA.
If you already take actions on 26 April on your local problems concerning nuclear power engineering, please put on your list the demand for abolition of the NPP construction in Belarus. You are also welcome to participate in the “Charnobylski Shliah” in Minsk and other actions in Belarus.
Together we will be able to stand up for the right for life on a clean and ecologically safe planet!
If you have any intention to make solidarity actions with the Belarusian antinuclear movement or participate in the demonstration in Belarus please contact us:
Spread the callout through any accessible for you information channels.
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