Rocks fall from the sky and dust coats houses, gardens and streams. Homes crack, sacred sites are destroyed and the wildlife is driven away.
This was the reality for the residents of Kazas, a village of predominantly indigenous Shor people living in the shadow of enormous open-cast coal mines deep in the Keremovo Oblast, Siberia. The Kemerovo Oblast is Russia’s biggest coal mining region for coal to export and the main region where indigenous Shor and Teleut people live. Kazas was destroyed in 2013.
For the Shor people ‘assimilation, loss of language and traditions became overwhelming’, say three NGOs working with indigenous communities. At least eight other similar villages have met the same fate. The Russian government has repressive laws which have targeted groups active in supporting the indigenous people’s battle with the extractives industry.
The UK imports more coal from Russia than any other country and is the second largest market for Russia’s coal, after China. Our electricity demand causes their suffering.
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