On Sunday 3 February, protesters rallied in dozens of Russian cities against the so-called “garbage reform” and the domestic waste landfills, all under the slogan “Russia is not a dump”.
The protest organizers, which include the citizen initiative “Svobodny Sever” (“Free North”), claim that rallies were organized in more than 20 Russian regions. The portal MBKh Media reports that there were protests in 53 cities in 32 regions, including major cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg and much smaller settlements.
There were 150-300 protest participants in Yaroslavl, St. Petersburg, Naro-Fominsk and Omsk. In Russia’s Arkhangelsk province, activists estimate that there were as many as 9,000 demonstrators in Severodvinsk, 1,000 in Kotlas and 1,200 in Urdom (a village with only 4,000 inhabitants). Around 50 people protested in Krasnoyarsk, where the air temperature reached -38° Celsius. Several hundred people arrived at the start of the protest in Moscow.
In several cities, the protests were accompanied by arrests. Three activists were arrested in Kaltan in the Kemerov province. According to the headquarters of political oppositionist Alexei Navalny in Kaliningrad, Viktor Gorbunov, a member of the Yabloko party’s regional council who organized the local protest, was searched the night before and accused of distributing pornography. In Kolomna, the day before the protest, the local court placed protest organizer Vyacheslav Yegorov under house arrest for a month and 25 days, accusing him of repeatedly failing to comply with the procedure for holding public events, the politician Gennady Gudkov wrote on Twitter.
Throughout 2018, Russia saw ongoing protests for clean air and against the garbage situation in Moscow. In the middle of January 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to create a complex transportation system to take solid domestic waste into surrounding regions.