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New Russian Governors Oppose Controversial Shiyes Landfill in Their Backyard

A court ruled to demolish the Shiyes landfill in January, though the landfill’s investor has since appealed the decision. Roman Pimenov / TASS

Two newly appointed leaders in northern Russia have said they oppose a controversial landfill whose construction set off nationwide protests against shipping Moscow's waste to poorer regions over a year ago.

Opposition to construction of the Shiyes landfill in the Arkhangelsk region as a destination for Moscow’s trash grew from a local issue in 2018 to a mass movement a year later. A court ruled to demolish Shiyes in January 2020, though the landfill’s investor has since appealed the decision.

“I’m against the project at the Shiyes station. I don’t want it to continue,” Alexander Tsybulsky, the new acting governor of Arkhangelsk region, said in an interview Wednesday.

Vladimir Uyba, the new acting governor of the neighboring republic of Komi, said he had discussed the issue with Tsybulsky and reached the same conclusion regarding the landfill.

“Any project that can harm the environment of any region of any country shouldn’t have the right to exist,” Uyba was quoted as saying Friday.

Neither of them has so far outlined concrete plans on how to move forward with the landfill project.

President Vladimir Putin named Uyba and Tsybulsky acting governors of their respective regions after their predecessors quit in early April. 

Uyba replaced his predecessor in the republic of Komi this month after a mass coronavirus outbreak at a local hospital turned the region into one of Russia's virus hotspots. Tsybulsky took over in Arkhangelsk after his predecessor, who was a vocal supporter of the suspended landfill and drew locals' ire for offending remarks, said Putin should determine the region's new leader.

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