The ruble coin is drinking from a bottle marked "crude oil."

Source:  Ellustrator.

40 responses to “CARTOON

  1. Voice of Reason

    Does this oil come from the Louisiana coast?

  2. No Its from one of the thousands of oil drums the Russian left in the arctic 40 years ago….you know the ones that are coursing a “deliberate” not “accidental” environmental catastrophe.

  3. Voice of Reason

    I am so happy that while BP, Halliburton and the rest intentionally tried to save a little money by doing a shoddy work and not including additional safety mechanisms, they didn’t destroy the Gulf of Mexico intentionally.

    What other “accidents’ are awaiting us, R John? Aren’t you British? What other measures is the British Petroleum is taking to save a few thousand dollars by ignoring basic safety and to “accidentally” destroy our American environment?

  4. Voice of Reason

    thousands of oil drums the Russian left in the arctic 40 years ago

    While the Soviet Union 40 years ago was a terrible environment polluter, it is a total infant compared with the British Petroleum professional environment destroyers.

    The Soviets left the oil inside metal drums – BP spilled the oil into the open sea.

    Soviets left “thousands of oil drums” – BP is spilling an astounding 70,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf per day! Since it has been more than 2 weeks, BP has already spilled close to 1.5 million barrels, and it’s only a beginning! God know how many millions of barrels will be spilled in the coming weeks and months. How much oil is still there in that hole? 100 million barrels? More?

    Gulf Spill May Far Exceed Official Estimates

    The amount of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico may be at least 10 times the size of official estimates, according to an exclusive analysis conducted for NPR.

    He made a few simple calculations and came up with an astonishing value for the rate of the oil spill: 70,000 barrels a day — much higher than the official estimate of 5,000 barrels a day. The method is accurate to a degree of plus or minus 20 percent.

    • Voice of Reason

      Of course, this latest Gulf oil spill is only a prelude to British Petroleum’s much more grandiose plans:

      BP CEO Tony Howard claims the oil spill is “relatively tiny” compared with the “Big Ocean”. [57]

    • Actually the Russians polluted the arctic with millions of oil barrels, radioactive waste from naval reactors, industrial chemicals, weapons grade uranium etc etc etc.

      Still, this is a terrible disaster in the gulf of Mexico.

      • But is was an accident. Mr Voice implies BP did it intentionally

        • Voice of Reason

          No, I don’t imply that BP did it intentionally.
          Let me give an analogy. When criminals rob a bank, things often get messy, and the robbers often end up killing bank tellers, security guards and innocent by-standers.

          Did the robbers kill these people intentionally? No. They have a right to claim that it was “an accident”. Should they be convicted of first degree murder under aggravating circumstances? Yes.

          Same here. Did the British Petroleum executives sit down and say to themselves: “What can we do to destroy the environment in North America? Let’s intentionally create a major oil spill!”

          No, only a retarded simpleton would think they did that.

          What happens is that the BP executives sit down every day and say: “We want to get hundreds of millions in bonuses this year. How can we extract as much oil as possible as cheaply as possible, while spending as little as possible on protecting the environment and on safeguarding our oil rigs from accidents?”

          • You don’t have the facts, and nobody has yet. They are investigating. Wait until something emerges

            • Voice of Reason

              What facts? That corporations want to maximize their profits and to minimize their expenses, and that unless forced to do so by the government, they will spend little money on safety? This is Economics 101, first lesson. Proven many centuries ago. I bet even ancient Romans knew this.

        • The President of the USA implies the previous government was, so to say, quite irresponsible with signing licenses to oil companies.

          That is a somewhat more bitter statement, compared to that Voice of Reason did.

  5. Voice of Reason

    Compared to oil companies, the Soviets were pure amateurs when it comes to destroying the environment. The Soviets did it only in the Arctic area – the Western oil companies do it all over the globe. But even in the Arctic Polar area, the Soviet contribution to the destruction of the environment is miniscule compared to that done by British Petroleum alone, which, in its infinite greed and total disregard for the Americans, has successfully numerous huge “accidents” to ruin the Polar environment, e.g.,:

    In August, 2006, BP had spilled over one million litres of oil in Alaska’s North Slope.[48]

    On 16 October 2007 Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation officials reported a toxic spill of methanol (methyl alcohol) at the Prudhoe Bay oil field managed by BP PLC. Nearly 2,000 gallons of mostly methanol, mixed with some crude oil and water, spilled onto a frozen tundra pond as well as a gravel pad from a pipeline. Methanol, which is poisonous to plants and animals, is used to clear ice from the insides of the Arctic-based pipelines.[51]

    • Wrong again ReTaRd

      Environmental damage caused by Soviet troops not yet fully repaired
      22-08-2008 14:16 | Daniela Lazarová
      The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia resulted in a permanent Soviet military presence on Czech soil. Between 1968 and 1991 –when the last of the Soviet troops finally left the country – they operated in 73 localities. The environmental damage they caused is taking years to repair and has already cost billions of crowns. Jakub Kašpar is a spokesman for the Czech Environment Ministry:

      “The Soviet troops operated in 73 locations on the territory of the Czech Republic and sixty of them were left considerably contaminated. The main problem was the contamination of ground water by fuels like petrol or diesel and other toxins like oil-based hydrocarbons, chlorinated hydrocarbons or polychlorinated biphenyls. Another big problem was dumps of hazardous waste.”
      And I understand there was a lot of unexploded ammunition about –unexploded mines?
      “Yes, that is correct.”
      So how much has been cleaned up to date?
      “The vast majority of contaminated sites have been cleaned up or are being cleaned up at the present time – 1,4 billion crowns have already been invested in clean-up work and we expect that another 240 million will be invested between now and 2012 when the sanitation project should be concluded. So the clean-up operation should end eleven years after the last Soviet soldier left the Czech Republic.”
      Was the damage contained at least or has it affected people living nearby?
      “The main contamination happened on military sites which were not inhabited by civilians but there were also some sites located in the close vicinity of towns where the Soviet troops had their barracks, so for instance there are some contaminated sites in Milovice where people live or in Neředin near Olomouc where there are also people living in the area. So there was a risk that the contamination could affect civilians, but fortunately sanitation work started very quickly –almost as soon as the last Soviet train left the Milovice train station clean-up work began.”
      How is it possible that there was so much damage done –wasn’t there an environmental clause in the contracts signed on the use of these areas – or were there no contracts at all with the Soviets?
      “Frankly speaking, in communist Czechoslovakia there was very little environmental legislation in place and that which existed was very weak. And of course, the Soviet army was not interested in environmental protection.”
      Is it possible to clean up these sites completely or will there be lasting damage?
      “I think we will be able to clean them up completely and there should be no problem after 2012.”

    • Troubled Lands: The Legacy of Soviet Environmental Destruction

      Drawing mainly on interviews and Soviet official papers and press reports, the author documents thoroughly the extensive and depressing environmental degradation of the Soviet Union. Environmentalists can take some comfort about their impact in the West and the improvements there of recent decades, when they survey this dismal picture. One of the few theoretical justifications for central planning in an industrial society, as compared to a decentralized economy based on private enterprise, is that it is able to take into account the “externalities” of waste disposal and thereby reduce air and water pollution. We see here the sharp contrast between theory and reality. The Soviet central planners basically ignored the externalities altogether except when public health was directly threatened (and often half-heartedly even then). The author also discusses the role of Soviet environmentalists in reducing the wholesale corruption of the environment and indirectly bringing down the communist system. The book is a very useful source of information.

      D. J. Peterson
      Westview Press/Washington: rand
      276 pp.

      • Voice of Reason

        Yes, what a contrast between the old Soviet Union and the modern, responsible Russia:

        Russia to Clean Abandoned Barrels of Oil from Arctic

        Faced with this looming crisis, Prime Minister Putin suggested his nation commit to cleaning the mess of previous generations, telling Reuters:

        “The reduction in military activity after the collapse of the USSR left the rubble we see now. The level of pollution is 6 times higher than normal here! We need to do a major cleanup of the Arctic. This needs to be done through cooperation between the state and private investors, but of course the state should take the first steps, and we need to do it as soon as possible.”

        While there, Putin met with scientist to discuss the effect global warming has had on wildlife.

    • Russia’s legacy of death – environmental destruction

      DURING NEARLY TWO YEARS as a journalist in Russia, I craved, more than anything, fresh, clean air–that and water that I could drink straight from the tap. And more than anything among the manifold blessings of life in America, it is these that I savor now that I am home.

      Certainly I had had other complaints in Moscow. A little sunlight in that perpetually bleak and cloud-covered city would have been nice. And I missed good vegetables, such as tomatoes that I didn’t suspect could power a small nuclear reactor. But most of all, I longed for clean air and water.

      In the former Soviet Union, where for decades the government promoted production at all costs, one of the costs the nation paid was in the purity and integrity of the environment. After living without them, I still can’t get enough of such seemingly simple things as safe water.


      I had only to recall what I had seen in Russia to know what happens when environmental protection takes a backseat to industry. In the Soviet Union, environmental officials were always kept subservient to the agencies that ran the military, utilities, mines, chemical industries and metalworks. As a result, pollution in Russia now threatens the health of millions of citizens and the safety of crops, water and air.

      Nowhere in my travels were the weaknesses of Soviet environmental protection more apparent than in the Kuznetsk coal-mining basin, or Kuzbass, a 96,000-square-kilometer (37,000-sq.mi.) swath of southwest Siberia that for most of this century has been pillaged in the name of progress for its unparalleled mineral riches. The area holds effectively bottomless stores of coal, iron, manganese and gold. For example, under Kuzbass soil lie an estimated 725 billion tons of bituminous coal–145 times the total amount of coal ever mined in the entire world.

      Though coal and iron ore were discovered in the region in the 1700s, for most of its history the Kuzbass, 2,000 miles east of Moscow, has harbored only the harsh penal colonies of successive despotic regimes. Rapid development came to the area in the late 1920s, when Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin ordered a nationwide expansion of the industrial base. In southern Russia, in the basin of the Don River; in the Far North, Karelia and the Kola Peninsula; and most of all, through the Ural Mountains to Magnitogorsk and east to the Kuzbass, the state built a vast zone of mines and metallurgical combines. The only limits were time and manpower. After Stalin’s death in 1953, Soviet leaders expanded the Kuzbass’ growth, then went after the immense reserves of oil, gas and timber in the rest of Siberia.

      The Soviet slogan was stern, and everyone knew it: “We cannot expect charity from nature. We must tear it from her.” Says Valentin Naidanov, vice governor of the Kuzbass, “Like a colonial power, Moscow paid little attention to what life was like here. It just wanted coal, coal, more coal.” Today, both local people and the powers in Moscow must bear the results.

      In the Kuzbass, as in the rest of the country, life was organized around work. In Novokuznetsk, Russia’s biggest metallurgical center after Magnitogorsk (just two of Novokuznetsk’s hundreds of metalworks employ more than 70,000 of the city’s 620,000 residents), the football stadium is called the Metal Worker. In Kemerovo, the regional capital and the center for coking, chemicals, dyes and fertilizers, the stadium is called the Chemist.

      In a bitter irony from the Soviet era, billboards standing in soot-blackened snow along Kemerovo’s main thoroughfare, still called Soviet Street, commemorate the victory over Germany in 1945 and proclaim “Glory to Labor!” In the 50 years since, the industrial hands of the victors have wrought devastation of their own.

      Nothing better illustrates the extent of that devastation than the River Tom, which rises in the snowy peaks that separate Russia from Mongolia and runs for 827 kilometers (500 miles) through the Kuzbass before flowing into the Ob, one of Siberia’s trio of great rivers. The Kuzbass covers just 4 percent of Siberia’s territory but is home to 22 percent of Siberia’s people, drawn there by industrial work. Nine out of ten of them live in a narrow north- south strip along the Tom, which is lined with some of Russia’s grimiest factories. As it flows through Kemerovo, the river serves both as the city’s only source of drinking water and as its sole sewer.

      The Tom collects sewage and industrial waste for most of its length. In winter, hot clouds billow above the edges of the icy river–hints of the 4.8 million tons of poisons that industry dumps into the Tom each year. Carcinogenic benzene and petroleum products in the Tom average two to three times the government’s legal level, according to a recent study, and during the spring thaw exceed it 15-fold. Formaldehyde measures 34 times the permissible load.

      According to Yuri Kaznin, who heads the Department of Public Health of the Kemerovo Medical Institute, the river contains as much as 48 times the legal level of bacteria, 40 times the arsenic and as much as 8.5 times the phenol, a poison derived from coal tar. Groundwater is even worse, he says. It contains 150 times the acceptable level of these toxic contaminants.

      A journey up a tributary of the Tom leads to Leninsk-Kuznetski, home to 160,000 people. From the center of town, an hour and a half to the south of Kemerovo, smokestacks tower in every direction, and the streets are covered with coal dust and ash. Like most of the factories here, the largest of the city’s nine mines are downtown. Residents take their drinking water in pails from the Inya, the local river. Because it contains more chemical waste than water, it flows even when winter temperatures drop far below freezing.

      A few hours further up the Tom, in Novokuznetsk, the air grows even worse. During the spring thaw, the city’s mammoth metalworks mock environmental laws, releasing into the sky three or four times the maximum legal level of heavy metals. In winter and summer, the climate conspires to trap poisonous air above the city for weeks at a time. A report by the regional Health and Epidemiology Survey indicates that sulfur levels near an agglomeration plant run as high as 312 times the acceptable level. Near a 5.4 million-square-foot pharmaceutical plant, fluoride is 300 times the norm.

      Two-thirds of the city’s air pollution comes not from its monster factories but from the low stacks of its centralized, and massively inefficient, coal- burning utility plants. According to municipal authorities in Novokuznetsk, the city’s air averages 10 times the legal level of benzopyrene, a carcinogen found in coal. One industrial district is burdened with 48 times the legal level. On bad days, the authorities say, nitrous oxide runs 15 times the norm, ammonium 10 times and soot 7 times. Studies around the world have implicated these pollutants in a variety of human ailments, some fatal, ranging from asthma and sore throats to cancer. By winter’s end, according to a local chemist, snow on the city’s streets contains 200 times the level of pollutants that the law allows.

      Residents add more than 800,000 tons of solid trash and waste yearly to a dump at the center of town, near the river bank, polluting the groundwater and carrying 1 million cubic meters (225 million gallons) of contaminated runoff into the Tom daily–more, authorities admit, than the purification system can handle. Industries illegally dump thousands of tons of toxic waste throughout the city each year.

      According to Nikolai Korolyov, executive director of the Novokuznetsk Development Fund, a group that with foreign help is trying to address the pollution problem, even the treated water has dangerously high numbers of parasites and the organisms that cause dysentery, typhoid and paratyphoid.

      Partly because of air pollution and partly because of mining, says Anatoli Shmonov, head of the regional Land Reclamation Laboratory, the soil throughout the Kuzbass is ruined. In Kemerovo, for instance, it contains 22 times the permissible levels of zinc, 31 times the lead and 35 times the arsenic, a deadly byproduct of smelting.

      On a paltry budget, Shmonov’s laboratory is seeking ways of living with the damage–finding which vegetables, for instance, can be raised safely in which areas. The nature of the Russian diet, which consists largely of root vegetables, compounds the problem because many of these are the plants most likely to absorb poisons from the soil. North of Kemerovo, around the city of Anzhero-Sudzhensk, beets contain five times the maximum allowable lead, zinc and cadmium.

      The fact that most Kuzbass coal lies at shallow depths has invited industry to turn 3,900 square miles of what was once some of Russia’s most fertile topsoil into open pits and piles of coal refuse, Shmonov says. Though heavy in radon, the mining waste also is used for railroad embankments and construction. When the coal from these pits has been exhausted, the earth is left so badly scarred that, during rains and the spring thaw, a sulfurous runoff acidifies the groundwater and rivers. “What we have to work with here isn’t soil,” says Shmonov matter-of-factly. “It is a soil-like substance, and we have to learn how to live with it.”

      Though its extremes may stand out, the Kuzbass is not unique among the many tragedies that choke the 21 million square kilometers (8 million sq.mi.) of the former Soviet Union. For example, scientists who helped develop nuclear power plants and atomic test sites acknowledge that the nuclear industry pumped billions of gallons of deadly waste into the earth–including, near three of Russia’s most important rivers, an amount equal to 60 times the radiation released during the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear-power-plant accident. According to a 1994 World Bank report “virtually all” of the country’s radioactive-waste storage sites fail to meet modern standards.

      Due north of the Kuzbass, near the Arctic Circle, acid rain from the smelting of nickel, copper and platinum has deforested 880,000 acres, according to Russian newspaper Izvestiya. Solid-waste processing facilities can handle barely more than a quarter of the 7 billion tons produced annually. According to a 1994 report by the Security Council of President Boris Yeltsin, three-quarters of Russia’s water is unpotable. Other studies place the figure still higher.

      According to Russia’s Environment and Natural Resources Ministry, the country’s 1.2 million miles of oil and gas pipelines experience about 1,000 spills yearly. As much as 1.5 trillion cubic feet of the gas that rises with extracted petroleum is simply burned up. ITAR-TASS, the official news agency, reported recently that in the Komi Republic alone, where a horrific 1994 oil spill dumped as much as 300 million gallons onto the tundra and into rivers, about 40 more leaks have occurred.

      In the Far East, clear-cutting is out of control. More than 1,000 plant and animal species are endangered in Russia, according to the World Bank.

      All of these tragedies are the result, in the words of the Security Council report, of “economics without limits”–a “perversion of the system of values.” The human health consequences of this inattention to the environment have been catastrophic. For reasons that Aleksei Yablokov, the head of the Security Council’s environmental commission, attributes to the degraded environment, the life expectancy of men in Russia has dropped to 57.3 years, compared to 72 in the United States. In the Kuzbass, it is only 51.

      According to Andrei Luzhkov, director of immunology at the Kemerovo Medical Institute, 80 percent of workers in the Kuzbass have impaired immune systems. Other studies indicate that adults in Kemerovo are more than three times as likely as people elsewhere in the country to suffer endocrine ailments and 2.7 times as likely to have chronic bronchitis. Kemerovo’s children have three times the kidney and urinary-tract infections and, according to the Medical Institute’s Kaznin, 2.6 times the fatal nervous-system disorders. In one of the city’s particularly polluted neighborhoods, the number of retarded children is triple the national average.

      Russia’s health problems, like its polluted environment, are hardly confined to the Kuzbass. In Novosibirsk, to the northeast of Kemerovo, several schools have reported cardiovascular problems in all of their students. In the Kola Peninsula, near Scandinavia, fully one-fourth of the babies have heart defects or bone-marrow disorders. Not far to the south, in the town of Nadvoitsy, decades of dumping by an aluminum plant has contaminated drinking- water sources, turning the teeth of the town’s children black and rotten.

      In Kazakhstan, where before the Soviet empire’s breakup in 1991 half the country’s zinc and lead were smelted, immune system abnormalities reportedly afflict 58 percent of the children. In Uzbekistan, where the once enormous Aral Sea was deprived of water for the sake of irrigating ever larger cotton crops, winds rushing across the dried sea bed whip up dust laden with salts, pesticides and fertilizers. In Ukraine, virtually all commerce last summer was halted in the Kharkov region when a sewage-treatment system began spilling 200,000 cubic meters (45 million gal.) of raw sewage daily into the local river.

      The environmental scourge at the root of such problems shows no signs of abating. On the contrary, according to a report released by the Environment Ministry in June, air pollution in the 60 to 70 largest Russian cities, where between 40 million and 50 million people live, rises several times a year to at least 10 times higher than the legal limit. As many as 60 million other people live in places where pollution yearly exceeds health standards by at least five times.

      Olga Andrakhanova, who has headed the regional Environmental Protection Committee since Soviet days, laments the lack of priority that government accords the environment–although recently, she says in a great bureaucratic flourish, the committee authorized 19 new programs and 200 inspectors to make sure that industry complies with what law there is.

      Ironically, in 1949 the Soviet Union passed the world’s first resolution defining maximum permissible levels of toxic substances. But like the progressive Soviet Constitution, this resolution and the nation’s other environmental laws were worth less than the paper on which they were written. Regulation and enforcement, write Georgetown University demographer Murray Feshbach and journalist Alfred Friendly, Jr., “amounted to another form of the old Russian practice of, putting a false front over grubby reality. . . . At most they constituted a minor nuisance for factory managers under pressure to fulfill their plans at all costs.”

      Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia has added still more laws to the books. But today’s reality–even where the high-minded plans are not sabotaged by corruption–is that no one can afford to follow through. For instance, Andrakhanova admits that her 19 new programs and 200 inspectors have no local budget and that only half the federal money promised them actually comes through.

      Laboring for decades under industrial plans that proved short-sighted and ultimately self-defeating, the Soviet behemoth fouled its own nest. The cost of recovery is incalculable, and the coffers are bare. The Russian example stands as a reminder to Americans that, over the long haul, a people who practice production without prudence may destroy or damage all that sustains them.

      Glenn Garelik, who writes frequently about the environment, was a reporter and journalism instructor in Russia from 1993 to 1995.

      This Soviet poster exhorted citizens to “restore, build and initiate 5,900 enterprises” between 1946 and 1950 and called the new five-year plan “a great construction project.” Emphasis on production at all costs has cost Russia its environmental integrity.

      “We’ll throw off the chains of ruin with labor’s hard blow,” proclaimed this 1921 poster four years after the Communist Revolution. Since then, pollution from unregulated development has undermined Russia’s economy and, some experts believe, Russian health.

      The Soviet slogan was stern, and everyone knew it: “We cannot expect charity from nature. We must tear it from her.”;col1

  6. Voice of Reason

    U.S. Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits

    Published: May 13, 2010

    WASHINGTON — The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species — and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf.

    Those approvals, federal records show, include one for the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and resulting in thousands of barrels of oil spilling into the gulf each day.

    The Minerals Management Service, or M.M.S., also routinely overruled its staff biologists and engineers who raised concerns about the safety and the environmental impact of certain drilling proposals in the gulf and in Alaska, according to a half-dozen current and former agency scientists.

    Those scientists said they were also regularly pressured by agency officials to change the findings of their internal studies if they predicted that an accident was likely to occur or if wildlife might be harmed.

    “M.M.S. has given up any pretense of regulating the offshore oil industry,” said Kierán Suckling, director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The agency seems to think its mission is to help the oil industry evade environmental laws.”

    In a letter from September 2009, obtained by The New York Times, NOAA accused the minerals agency of a pattern of understating the likelihood and potential consequences of a major spill in the gulf and understating the frequency of spills that have already occurred there.

    The accusation that the minerals agency has ignored risks is also being levied by scientists working for the agency.

    Managers at the agency have routinely overruled staff scientists whose findings highlight the environmental risks of drilling, according to a half-dozen current or former agency scientists.

    The scientists, none of whom wanted to be quoted by name for fear of reprisals by the agency or by those in the industry, said they had repeatedly had their scientific findings changed to indicate no environmental impact or had their calculations of spill risks downgraded.

    “You simply are not allowed to conclude that the drilling will have an impact,” said one scientist who has worked for the minerals agency for more than a decade.

    BP’s drilling plan asserted that there was no chance of an oil spill

    Almost two months before the Deepwater Horizon exploded, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona, sent a letter to the agency raising concerns about the BP Atlantis and questioning its oversight of the rig.

    But the minerals agency has issued at least five final approval permits to new drilling projects in the gulf since last week, records show.

  7. Voice of Reason

    Thanks, Andrew.

    It truly looks like modern Russia has greatly improved compared to the old Soviet Union, whereas the modern British and American oil companies are allowed to behave worse than ever.

    Of course, British Petroleum is a special case even for oil companies, because they feel no mercy for us, Americans. This is the thank-you that we, Americans, get for saving you, Brits, in two World Wars.

    • Your “us Americans” and “we Americans” is getting nauseating. No American has to prove the point that he is an American in every sentence.

      • Well, he is American, that’s a fact and your POV is irrelevant.

        • Well Dima, your POV is irrelevant.

          Besides, are you acquainted personally with Voice Of Retardation?

          Do you have evidence to back up your statement

          Well, he is American, that’s a fact

          It would be great to see it.

          Though I suspect you are just VOR using a different nick to make up for the face that he is a desperately lonely and insignificant retard, probably still living with his mother…..

    • Really ReTaRd?

      Did you read the second post?

      Maybe this one will be enlightening?

      Deadly Legacy: The Soviet Union’s Ravaging of the Environment

      The Russian Federation faces a variety of societal problems. Government corruption and suppression of democracy are rife, and human rights violations abound. The Russian military faces numerous operational challenges, including low morale and budgetary problems. Issues regarding Chechnya and terrorism continue to plague the government. Crime and drug use are on the rise, and the population is declining at an alarming rate. Such issues are well-known, often making their way into the public’s eye via the Washington Post or BBC news.

      However, one, lesser-known but equally serious issues it that of Russia’s ecological malaise.

      The environmental legacy of the Soviet Union is one of mind-boggling disregard and destruction. Soviet industries operated unhindered by environmental regulations which, although stringent, were seldom enforced, releasing massive amounts of pollution into the air, land, and water. In fact, the former Soviet Union is home to some of the world’s most polluted places. The Blacksmith Institute, an environmental organization dealing with pollution problems, ranked Sumgayit in Azerbaijan, Dzerzhinsk and Norilsk in the Russian Federation, and Chernobyl in Ukraine among the top 10 in its annual report, “The World’s Worst Polluted Places: The Top Ten of the Dirty Thirty” (The World’s Worst Polluted Places 6). Of the further twenty locations, six are located in the former Soviet Union. Pollutants at these sites include heavy metals, chemicals and toxic byproducts, harmful particulate, and radioactive materials, which have resulted in increased mortality rates and a myriad of health problems, such as cancer, genetic defects, and respiratory diseases. Still worse is the fact that many sites like these exist across the country. However, industry was not the only source of pollution—agriculture was also to blame. Poor farming practices resulted in major erosion, and the improper use of pesticides—tons of which lie abandoned across the country—contributed to contamination of the soil and water.

      The Soviet armed forces also contributed significantly to the destruction of the environment, regularly dumping old munitions, jet fuel, and other hazardous wastes without regard for the health of the environment or citizenry. Clandestine dumping of chemical weapons was widespread, and took place at locations such as the pine forests of Leonidovka and the Baltic Sea. Lev Fedorov, activist and president of the Union of Chemical Safety, estimates that the Soviet military dumped half a million tons of chemical weapons between the end of WWII and the late 1980s, tens of thousands of tons of which still sit buried in “unmarked and still undisclosed graveyards” throughout the former Soviet Union (Hoffman). Military facilities with huge stores of deadly chemical weapons slated for destruction also dot the country, such as those at Gornyy, Maradykovsky, and Shchuchye (“SGP Issue Brief”). The Soviet Navy had the particularly appalling practice of nuclear disposal at sea, dumping large quantities of radioactive waste and submarine reactors with spent fuel into the Barents and Kara Seas, the Seas of Japan and Okhotsk, and the North Pacific Ocean (Steinhardt et al 9-11). Many decommissioned Soviet nuclear submarines sit rusting in port and awaiting dismantlement, adding to the threat of further contamination or accidents. Norway has raised concerns about accidents at Andreyeva Bay, a storage facility for radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel of the Russian Northern Fleet located 45 kilometers from the Russian-Norwegian border and 100 kilometers from Murmansk, and the Bellona Foundation has labeled Andreyeva “a ticking time bomb” after research confirmed the possibility of an uncontrollable chain reaction, and small nuclear explosion, at the facility (Alimov). Radiological pollution at Russian nuclear weapons facilities was and continues to be endemic, as highlighted in a publication by the Pacific Northwest Center for Global Security:

      “Three of Russia’s nuclear materials production sites, referred to historically as Chelyabinsk-65, Tomsk-7, and Krasnoyarsk-26, have accounted for over 95 percent of the world’s radioactive waste released to surface and subsurface water systems” (qtd. in Fuller and Leek).

      Unsound operating practices and accidents have plagued these facilities, further adding to the threat they pose to the environment and the local population. One of the most serious accidents occurred at Chelyabinsk-65, home to the Mayak Chemical Combine, in 1957 when a radioactive waste storage tank exploded, contaminating some 20,000 square kilometers of land and exposing over 272,000 people to radioactive fallout (Kudrik et al 66-69). This accident, as well as numerous others, has earned Chelyabinsk-65 the infamous reputation of being the most radioactively polluted spot on the planet. Another accident at Tomsk-7 in 1993 resulted in the contamination of 100 square kilometers of land (Kudrik et al 78). Various other sources of radioactive pollution, such as the approximately 1,000 radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) built to power remote navigation beacons and lighthouses, remain scattered throughout the former Soviet Union, posing lingering health and environmental risks.

      Unfortunately, this trend of criminal disregard for environmental protection and human health still continues to a large degree. Many of Russia’s industries continue to function as they did in Soviet times, unfettered by environmental regulations which remain inadequate or unenforced. A recent plan was hatched by Minatom, Russia’s nuclear ministry, to receive foreign shipments of nuclear waste at Chelyabinsk-65 in an attempt to raise much-needed funds; however, this plan was condemned in 2002 by Gosatomnadzor, the ministry’s own nuclear regulator (“Russian Regulators Condemn Own Ministry”). Russia’s pristine forests are facing the threat of increased logging, and the accelerated extraction of natural resources, such as oil and gas at the Sakhalin I and II projects, risks further environmental destruction.

      With all this in mind, a prudent question to ask is what is being done about these issues? Many NGOs, such as Greenpeace Russia, the Blacksmith Institute, and the Bellona Foundation, are working towards remediating the ecological devastation of Soviet times. Governments and international organizations, including the United States, Norway, the World Bank, and the European Union, are also helping the Russian Federation by providing environmental assistance in the form of funding and joint cleanup programs. However, many challenges still remain. The Soviet government’s tradition of hostility towards the environmental movement continues to this day, with activists often facing harassment, beatings, and arrest at the hands of Russian authorities. Many are suspicious of government involvement in the beating death of a Siberian anti-nuclear protestor in July 2007 (Kopeikina). Years of Soviet rule also bred indifference towards the well-being of the environment, a trend persistent in many of the former Soviet republics. It is important that the international community continue and expand efforts to deal with the ecological damage caused by the Soviet Union, as well as work to foster environmental consciousness. Such efforts will benefit not only the Russian Federation and the former Soviet republics, but the greater global community by preventing further environmental tragedies like those at Mayak and Chernobyl and building a better, cleaner future for the next generation.

      -Gregory Proulx

    • Meanwhile, to be honest, the US contribution to WW1 was as irrelevant as the Russian contribution to the war against Japan in WW2.

      The hard work was done by the British and French Empires, hell the US Army even had to be equipped buy the British and French.

      A marked contrast to WW2 one might add.

      • Voice of Reason

        You are not a native English speaker, are you, Andrew?

        And please tell me more about this mysterious “French Empire” in the 20th century. Are you talking about the Napoleonic war of 1812? :-)

        • You have no education in history do you ReTaRd, the French Republic had an empire.

          You know, Algeria, Indochina, large parts of Africa, several pacific island groups.

          Second French colonial empire

          At the close of the Napoleonic Wars, most of France’s colonies were restored to it by Britain, notably Guadeloupe and Martinique in the West Indies, French Guiana on the coast of South America, various trading posts in Senegal, the Île Bourbon (Réunion) in the Indian Ocean, and France’s tiny Indian possessions. Britain finally annexed Saint Lucia, Tobago, the Seychelles, and the Île de France (Mauritius), however.
          The true beginnings of the second French colonial empire, however, were laid in 1830, with the French invasion of Algeria, which was conquered over the next 17 years. During the Second Empire, headed by Napoleon III, an attempt was made to establish a colonial-type protectorate in Mexico, but this came too little, and the French were forced to abandon the experiment after the end of the American Civil War, when the American president, Andrew Johnson, invoked the Monroe Doctrine. This French intervention in Mexico lasted from 1861 to 1867. Napoleon III also established French control over Cochinchina (the southernmost part of modern Vietnam including Saigon) in 1867 and 1874, as well as a protectorate over Cambodia in 1863.
          It was only after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 and the founding of the Third Republic (1871-1940) that most of France’s later colonial possessions were acquired. From their base in Cochinchina, the French took over Tonkin (in modern northern Vietnam) and Annam (in modern central Vietnam) in 1884-1885. These, together with Cambodia and Cochinchina, formed French Indochina in 1887 (to which Laos was added in 1893, and Kwang-Chou-Wan in 1900). In 1849, the French concession in Shanghai was established, lasting until 1946.

          Influence was also expanded in North Africa, establishing a protectorate on Tunisia in 1881 (Bardo Treaty). It was this that launched the Scramble for Africa, where the largest slice of territory was under French rule, with Britain in second place. Gradually, French control was established over much of Northern, Western, and Central Africa by the turn of the century (including the modern nations of Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo), as well as the east African coastal enclave of Djibouti (French Somaliland). The Voulet-Chanoine Mission, a military expedition, was sent out from Senegal in 1898, to conquer the Chad Basin and unify all French territories in West Africa. This expedition operated jointly with two other expeditions, the Foureau-Lamy and Gentil missions, which advanced from Algeria and Middle Congo respectively. With the death of the Muslim warlord Rabih az-Zubayr, the greatest ruler in the region, and the creation of the Military Territory of Chad in 1900, the Voulet-Chanoine Mission had accomplished all its goals. The ruthlessness of the mission provoked a scandal in Paris. As a part of the Scramble for Africa, France had the establishment of a continuous west-east axis of the continent as an objective, in contrast with the British north-south axis. This resulted in the Fashoda incident, were an expedition led by Jean-Baptiste Marchand was opposed by forces under Lord Kitchener’s command. The resolution of the crisis had a part in the bringing forth of the Entente Cordiale. During the Agadir Crisis in 1911, Britain supported France and Morocco became a French protectorate.
          At this time, the French also established colonies in the South Pacific, including New Caledonia, the various island groups which make up French Polynesia (including the Society Islands, the Marquesas, the Tuamotus), and established joint control of the New Hebrides with Britain.
          The French made their last major colonial gains after the First World War, when they gained mandates over the former Turkish territories of the Ottoman Empire that make up what is now Syria and Lebanon, as well as most of the former German colonies of Togo and Cameroon. A hallmark of the French colonial project in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century was the civilizing mission (mission civilisatrice), the principle that it was Europe’s duty to bring civilization to benighted peoples. As such, colonial officials undertook a policy of Franco-Europeanization in French colonies, most notably French West Africa. Africans who adopted French culture, including fluent use of the French language and conversion to Christianity, were granted equal French citizenship, including suffrage. Later, residents of the “Four Communes” in Senegal were granted citizenship in a program led by the Afro-French politician Blaise Diagne.


          French Empire The French acquisition of overseas territories began in the seventeenth century, though the last continuous period of expansion began with the occupation of Algiers in 1830. In the following decades, France occupied the rest of Algeria as well as other territories in the Pacific and in Africa (Senegal), though its most ambitious acquisitions came after 1870 during the Third Republic, when it added Madagascar and Indochina to its Empire. By 1914, the colonies made up 95 per cent of French territory, and 54 per cent of her population. The Empire expanded even further after World War I, when it acquired most of the former German colonies of Cameroon and Togo, in addition to the League of Nations Mandates of Lebanon and Syria. After World War II, the power vacuum left by the withdrawal of the Japanese occupying forces in Indochina led to the Declaration of Independence by the Communist-led Vietminh in 1945, to which the French finally had to give their assent in 1954 after defeat at Dien Bien Phu in the Indochina War. When in that same year hostilities broke out against French rule in Algeria, it became clear that the French would be unable to stop the disintegration of the Empire, despite attempts such as the creation of the short-lived French Community to stall this process. None the less, France not only retains strong links with her former colonies, but also still has a considerable number of overseas territories. In addition to the French Antarctic territory, its overseas territories (territoires d’outre-mer) with limited self-government consist of French Polynesia and New Caledonia in the Pacific. Territories with more autonomy (collectivités territoriales) are the North American island of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon (off the coast of Newfoundland) and the African Island of Mayotte. By contrast, the African island of Réunion, the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, and French Guyana (in South America), are legally and politically an integral part of France (départements d’outre-mer).

          Therefore the “French Empire” had a decisive role in the 1st World War.

          I mean, if the Roman republic could have an empire…..

          Really ReTaRd, given your obvious lack of understanding of history, you really should be quiet on subjects beyond your comprehension.

          By the way, how about all those nasty acts against the environment by Putin?

  8. Window on Eurasia: Putin’s Campaign against the Environment has Sent Russian Life Expectancies Plummeting, Ecologist Says
    Paul Goble

    Vienna, March 19 – In the name of economic development and in pursuit of profit, Vladimir Putin, both as president and now as prime minister, has systematically dismantled Moscow’s earlier and limited environmental protection arrangements, a campaign that not only threatens various eco-systems there but also is driving down Russian life expectancies.
    In an interview posted online today, Aleksey Yablokov, an advisor to the Russian Academy of Sciences and president of the Green Russia Fraction, argues that countries like Japan which have cleaned up the environment have seen their life expectancies rise while those like Russia which have despoiled have seen just the opposite effect.
    And he places the blame for Russia’s retreat on this front squarely on Vladimir Putin, who operating on the assumption that the country cannot afford environmental protection yet and pursuing profit above all else has destroyed even the limited environmental protection arrangements set up in Soviet times (
    At the present time, Yablokov says, the Japanese have the longest life expectancies. “They spend on environmental protection five to six percent of their national budget. As a result, he continues, what 60 years ago, was “one of the dirtiest countries” in the world with a much lower life expectancy is now one of the cleanest with the highest one.
    Russia has been going in exactly the opposite direction. Under Boris Yeltsin, Russia spent 0.5 percent of its budget on protecting the environment. Now, after ten years of Putin, Moscow is spending “a hundred times less!” And not surprisingly, “Russia is the only country where average life expectancy has not been increasing but declining.”
    After his interviewer pointed out that in Soviet times people joked that they could not expect anything good from the environment because of the way they had treated it, Yablokov responded by saying that what has happened in the last decade is that Moscow has adopted a large number of much ballyhooed policies on the environment but not fulfilled any of them.
    Russia now has a climate doctrine and an ecological doctrine, both adopted under Putin, “but not one of [their] provisions is being fulfilled even though [in them] there is much that is rational.” Indeed, things have gone so far in the wrong direction under his leadership that it is possible to speak about “the de-ecologization” of Russia.
    Putin’s “first decree in the first term of his [presidency] was to destroy the State Committee on Ecology,” Yablokov recalls. “Then, the MVD decided to eliminate the ecological militia, and the ministry of education decided to drop the ecology course that had been offered in middle schools.”

    Environmentalists protested, but the government acted according to the ideology of the economic reformers who insisted that Russia could not yet afford environmental protection and the greed of those who saw despoiling the environment or at least not defending it as a key to their own wealth.
    And now that Putin is prime minister rather than president, he has continued the same course. He has reduced the size of protected water zones by a factor of two, he has permitted the reopening of the Baikal cellulose plant and the dumping of its wastes into the lake, and he has pushed through the Duma a law allowing insecure burial of atomic wastes.
    Everywhere else in the world, Yablokov says, the way Moscow is now going to handle radioactive wastes is “prohibited.” But by eliminating the safeguards that had existed, Putin has reduced costs and opened the way for greater profits even as he has ensured that Russia and Russians will suffer.
    Almost everywhere one looks, the Russian ecologist says, Putin is taking action on behalf of profits over people. Deripaska needed to reopen the Baikalsk paper plant in order to sell it off, and it was reopened even though there is no need for such a plant and even though every environmental protection group in the world has warned against it.
    In Khimki near Moscow, an irreplaceable eco-system is being destroyed, not because there is no other choice but because doing so allows the minister of transportation – “the largest landowner” there – to make a profit. And the list goes on, he says, to include among other things the Northern Flow and Southern Flow pipeline systems.
    As a result of what Putin has done, Yablokov concludes, Russians cannot count on their government to protect the environment and hence the life expectancies of themselves and their children. “Do you want to live inspire of this?” he asks his interviewer rhetorically. “Then defend yourself.”

    • “where average life expectancy has not been increasing but declining”

      Did you buddy ever inqured statistics?

  9. Voice of Reason

    Wow. Andrew has once again totally obliterated this page with his diarrhea. He even managed to post hundreds if not thousands of lines on the history of French colonies, just to make sure this page is unreadable.

    Moderator, thanks for allowing Andrew to destroy your blog.

    • Just because you have to attend remedial reading classes ReTaRd, does not mean that others cant read.

      If you consider the opinions of experts that state Russia (Both soviet and modern day neo-fascist) is a terrible raper of the environment “diarrhea”, well thats your problem.

      But as usual you have been proven to be a lying idiot, so never mind.

      Your understanding of history is negligible, and your pathetic attempts to declare Putin an environmentalist are laughable.

      You are in short, a very bad joke.

    • Yes, he is a spammer. So long comments are a joke, and he pretends to be the main history expert. Грызун недоделанный.

      • Never mind Kaimanchuk, you are a отсталых русский обезьяны

      • русские, так уступает

        • Andrew, you should start composing poems in Russian.

          This type of language may become a real breakthrough in the field of modern poetry.

          The country would be greatful, you’ll be rich and famous.

          • отсталых русский обезьяны
            русские, так уступает

            B/c it looks the beginning of a perfect postmodern poem.

  10. Kuzbas ACTION

    Open letter of the Union of Kuzbass residents to the President, the people of Russia and the inhabitants of Kuzbass:

  11. Russia coal miners protest after deadly blasts

    (Reuters) – Russian riot police were called in to disperse coal miners and their families who had blocked a railway line in Siberia to protest against a mine accident last weekend which killed at least 66 people.

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