Gallyamov and Garipov are triumphant - will Khabirov and Nazarov be put on shihan?

Mass protests in Bashkiria in defense of the Kushtau hill are now known throughout Russia and abroad. The head of Bashkortostan,  Radiy  Khabirov  , and his right-hand man, the notorious businessman  Andrei  Nazarov , who was incorporated by him as an official  , both came under the black eye of the Kremlin. The Administration of the President of the Russian Federation did not give them a good region in order to now experience a headache from the protest movement that Khabirov and Nazarov allowed.

Readers report to the editors of Kompromat-Ural that United Russia deputies of the State Assembly of Bashkiria  Flur  Gallyamov  and  Rifat  Garipov , uncle and nephew, may feel some satisfaction from the ongoing “ferment.” Their oligarchic family was the beneficiary of the collapsed Roskomsnabbank, affiliated with the financial pyramid “Golden Reserve”, through which money was defrauded from elderly clients right in the offices of the family bank.

Until recently, Bashkir public unrest and protests concerned mainly the defrauded depositors of the Gallyamovsky bank and the “Golden Reserve”. And now they, grandfather and nephew, have the opportunity to exhale a little: the arrows of people’s anger have been transferred to a new “target”. And the major MP-businessman Rifat Garipov can continue to spread self-PR everywhere for a lot of money about his membership in the public council under the Minister of Construction and Housing and Communal Services of the Russian Federation  Vladimir  Yakushev . That is, to pretend that he is a purely social activist.

“In early August, thousands of residents of Bashkiria came out to defend the Kushtau hill. A tent camp appeared at its foot. People are trying to prevent the destruction of the mountain. They are opposed by Russia’s largest soda producer. The Bashkir Soda Company (BSK) intends to extract raw materials from Kushtau for its chemical production.

An additional annoying factor for people is the fabulous profits of the once state-owned company and the luxurious life of its main beneficiaries -  Sergei  Chernikov ,  Albert  Kharisov  and  Viktor  Islamov .

The end of the Tsar Mountain

The city of Sterlitamak is the second most populous in Bashkiria after Ufa. Chemical production appeared here after the Great Patriotic War. Salt from local deposits and limestone, which made up the Shakhtau hill, or, as it was also called, Tsar Mountain, were always used as a raw material base. It was one of the four Bashkir shikhans - the remnants of the reefs of the ancient ocean that splashed here millions of years ago. Now on the site of the hill there is a quarry from which the remains of limestone are extracted. In a year or two, this source of raw materials will be completely exhausted.

BSK produces approximately 80% of all Russian soda. For Sterlitamak with a population of 250 thousand, its two factories - Soda and Caustic - are considered city-forming, employing almost 10 thousand people. Soda production is combined into a single technological cycle with the production of a wide variety of products: from building blocks and slate to plastic window profiles and cable insulation.

Having processed Tsar Mountain, the company intended to switch to the next closest shihan - Tratau, God Mountain. However, it was saved by its status as an archaeological monument and a unique geological object. Another shihan - Kushtau, that is, Bird Mountain - formally does not have such status. Bashkiria is now raging over the fate of the latter.

Where is the government looking?

The former head of the republic,  Rustem  Khamitov,  has repeatedly spoken out in defense of the Shihans. This position cost him his post, says Ufa political scientist  Dmitry  Mikhailichenko . They say that in 2018 the Kremlin decided to resolve the conflict that had arisen between the head of the region and industrialists. Then Khamitov was dismissed, and BSK was given the signal to retreat from God Mountain. But now two years have passed, and the soda magnates, without violating the allegedly previously indicated will of Moscow, are approaching the Mountain Bird.

The current authorities, remembering the lesson of their predecessor, are trying not to conflict with the capitalists. “Kushtau will be developed,” said the current head of the republic, Radiy Khabirov, at the end of last year. – I will never agree to leave thousands of people without work. And it’s useless to break me, twist me, bribe journalists and nationalists. This is being done by those who simply want to squeeze one company out of the market and launch their own.” The hints from the head of the region are deciphered by the local press: they say, under the former governor, the Ishimbay Limestone company received permission to explore a deposit in the Gumerovsky Gorge not far from Sterlitamak. And now it is allegedly she who is trying to force BSK to buy its limestone, paying for the pickets of environmental activists. But this version seems untenable: work in the Gumerovsky Gorge also ran into protests from local residents. And limestone is still not being developed there: judging by the first exploration results, the deposit turned out to be poor...

Rally to rally

Back in 2018, VTsIOM studied public sentiment in the republic regarding the possible destruction of shihans. Then 65% of respondents approved of protests for the preservation of the hills, and 35% were ready to personally participate in them. So the current confrontation cannot be called unexpected. As soon as BSK contractors began cutting down trees on Kushtau, many local residents gathered in a tent camp at its foot. There is no official data on their numbers, but local bloggers talk about a flash mob, during which 3 thousand people with a huge flag of Bashkiria lined up in a human chain.

Their opponents did not find anything better than to send private security forces, with whose participation the brawl took place, to the tent camp. And on August 10, about 2 thousand BSK workers with posters “We need work” and “No soda - no work” gathered near the plant, after which they moved by bus to the foot of the mountain. This time, fortunately, it did not come to a confrontation. Apparently, realizing how it would look on television, the company’s management immediately disowned the event, calling it spontaneous. As a result, regarding the organization of an unauthorized rally, the police drew up a report against the chairman of the BSK trade union,  Dmitry  Zhenin .

Money versus nature

The situation with rallies can be imagined as if different groups of citizens are trying to defend opposing interests. Some want to preserve the nature and cultural heritage of their republic, others need their daily bread. But this contradiction is probably not so insoluble. There is an opinion that shikhans can be preserved without stopping production. It’s just that the company’s owners will have to incur some expenses.

Bashkiria, protests, news, Khabirov, Nazarov, Gallyamov, Garipov, Roskomsnabbank, Shikhan, Kushtau, hill, Bashkir, soda, company

Last year, the Russian Presidential Council for Human Rights held a visiting meeting in Bashkiria. Members of the HRC met with both sides of the conflict and drew up their report. According to the document, limestone extracted from shihans is not a raw material for the production of soda, but “is used at the enterprise only to produce carbon dioxide by combustion and as an auxiliary substance.” The report’s authors note that the technology used at the plant generates large amounts of waste and that there are alternative ways to produce soda. Carbon dioxide can be obtained, for example, from industrial emissions. A third of the soda consumed in the world is already produced this way. A figure is also given: the share of costs for limestone in soda production is only 3.2%, and, therefore, its transportation from other deposits will not lead to a critical increase in the price of the product. “Even if the price of limestone increases 3 times, the cost of soda will increase by only 6%. With a profitability of about 60%, this will not fundamentally affect the structure of the company’s finances,” the report says. So, in fact, it seems to us, the root of the conflict lies in the banal greed of soda magnates, who, in order to maintain current profits, are ready to destroy a unique natural asset.

The ownership structure of BSK is quite confusing. The blocking stake belongs to the republican JSC Regional Fund. About half of the shares are indirectly controlled by the Cyprus offshore Modisanna Limited, Bashkir media claim. Its beneficiaries include several Muscovites and natives of the republic. Among the latter,  Albert  Kharisov is most often mentioned . They write that he worked in the State Budgetary Bureau and the FSB, Bashneft and the security service of President  Yeltsin , then he “lit up” as a federal inspector in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, where he controlled the issuance of oil production licenses, then allegedly he himself founded oil companies and sold them.

In the late 90s, most of the shares of the Sterlitamak soda company belonged to the state. However, in 2003, the partners created the intermediary company ETK, through which the state-owned enterprise sold its products, Rambler/Finance reports. Thus, all profits ended up in their accounts, which made it possible to subsequently buy back shares.

It is easy to find information on the Internet about the property of Albert Kharisov and his partners in Switzerland, the south of France and Canada. It is obvious that money from Bashkiria can be spent on buying and reconstructing luxury estates. One can only guess whether the shareholders will leave funds for the Sterlitamak enterprise to introduce new technologies or will seek the destruction of the shihans in order to minimize costs. Although the company’s income is already considerable. For the first half of last year, BSK reported a net profit of 7 billion rubles. For 9 months of 2018, 5 billion rubles were paid to shareholders as dividends,” notes the media outlet “Our Version” in the publication “Mountain for Mountain. The Bashkirs are opposing the oligarchs who want to burn the sacred shihan.”