21.05.2000 | S.Fedorynchyk, Kyiv

The unprecedented local referendum


To our great pity the results of Kostroma referendum are cancelled in Russia. This referendum was a unique phenomenon for Russia.

However, the first example of the local referendum had been set in Ukraine. In summer of 1995 the ecological organization ‘Zeleny Svit’ (‘The Green World’) organized the local referendum about the construction of the 6 thblock of Zaporozhye atomic electric station and a store for burial of radioactive waste. This referendum was held in Nikopol, Marganets and Kamienets-Dneprovskiy. Then the majority of the pollees rejected the construction. The authorities ignored the results, arguing it by some formal drawbacks in the procedure. Nonetheless it was the first in the world localreferendum concerning nuclear energy ( nationalreferendums were held in Switzerland, Italy and Austria).

The construction of the atomic station in Kostroma region was suspended in 1996 after the regional referendum. Before this referendum the local group ‘For the life sake’ organized a wide campaign for collecting signatures. After the proper number was collected, the authorities declared that some of the signatures were falsified. Then the group organized the second campaign. In order to avoid provocations the number of signatures was collected with a sizeable reserve.

This example found followers in other regions of Russia, in particular in Krasnoyarsk (about Zheleznogorsk plant for reprocessing nuclear waste) and in Rostov-on-the-Don (about the local atomic electric station). Then the Duma hurriedly adopted the amendment to the law on referendums, which prohibited the local referendums.

As to Kostroma, the local authorities sued the results of the referendum and won the process. That is a slap in the face of all ecologists and the entire Russian democracy. But the fight in Kostroma region is not over yet. I ask readers who sympathize to write to Kostroma fighters expressing solidarity with them.

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