One of the libraries of Vyborg (Leningrad oblast of Russia) has received a letter with an offer to place in its collection for open access the results of the environmental impact study for the overland portion of the Nord Stream gas pipeline. In and of itself, the offer is not unusual: two years ago, this same company had already placed environmental impact study materials in the libraries of Vyborg. What was unusual this time around, however, was that the letter was accompanied by an offer to do this for money. In so doing, it was proposed that the sum for spreading this information be named by the libraries of the region themselves.
Although libraries are in great need of financing of their activity, at library No. X they refused to place the information sent by a certain ZAO “DIEM”, and she refused to receive payment for such work, reporting to them that they do not knows anything about such an organization, its status, objectives and intentions, and that the very offer to familiarize the population with important environmental information WITH PAYMENT FOR THE WORK OF THE DISSEMINATORS of such information seems suspicious to them.
The fact is that the Constitution of the RF (Art. 24. pt.2. ) states«organs of state power and organs of local self-administration, theirofficials shall be obligated to provide everyone with the opportunityof familiarization with documents and materials directly touching uponhis rights and liberties, unless otherwise prescribed by law». Art. 29.pt.4. Everyone shall have the right to freely seek, obtain, transmit,produce and disseminate information in any lawful manner. Art.42. Everyone shall have the right to a favorable surroundingenvironment, reliable information on its state and to compensation ofdamage caused to his health or property by an environmental violationof the law.
In the law «On the protection of the surrounding naturalenvironment» (Art. 12) it is likewise recorded that citizens shall havethe right to demand from the corresponding organs the provision oftimely, full and reliable information on the state of the surroundingnatural environment and measures with respect to its protection. And inthe law of the RF «On information, informatization and the protectionof information» (Art.10, pt.1) it is said that the state informationalresources of the Russian Federation shall be open and universallyaccessible.
Of course, I am glad that the librarians refused the shadytransaction with ZAO «DIEM», representing the interests of its partner- Gazprom, which, in its turn, is a shareholder in the company NordStream AG. But something else is clear as well: if the leadership ofthe rayon to which the library is subordinate gives a direct indicationto place the multiple-tome information on the environmental impactstudy, then the librarians will carry out the charge. Personally,that’s exactly what happened.: the head of the library was called in tothe department of investments of the municipal (city), and not the[hierarchically lower] rayon, administration, where they reported toher that the head of the municipal assembly (implementing politicaladministration in our region) DEMANDS in unconditional order to PLACEthe materials of the environmental impact study.
This is what the environmental impact study documentslooked like two years ago. The sign reads “Influence of theNorth-European gas pipeline on the surrounding environment. Don’t beindifferent, give your assessment! WE are for GAS, and YOU…?” (photo byGrigory Pasko)
This is just the time to take a look at the website of ZAO “DIEM” .In the number of partners of this organization – Gazprom, Lukoil, ZAO«Caspian pipeline combine», the Novolipetsk metallurgical combine, OOO”Siemens”, (Germany), STATOIL ASA (Norway), Blue Stream PipelineCompany B.U., (Italy), GRS (Germany)… Pretty impressive partners,wouldn’t you say? Can you refuse companies like that something?
The librarians tried. The very fact of an attempt to PAY them tospread environmental information seemed strange to them. And now let uspause to think: why is the company Nord Stream through its intermediary- ZAO «DIEM» promoting the environmental report of its project in thisparticular way?
A library in Vyborg (photo by Grigory Pasko)
…Recently in Stockholm I asked the representative of Nord Stream AGin Sweden, mister (Lars Grönstedt – senior advisor Nord Stream – formerhead of the largest Swedish Bank, Svenska Handelsbanken, whether he, afinancier, knew just how the company NS AG had spent 100 mln. euros onthe resolution of the environmental problems of the project? The formerbanker did not answer this question.
But now, after the incident with the libraries of Vyborg, it seems to me that I know where the money drained away to.