Superfluous people. Governors Nosov and Dubrovsky destroy entire villages for the sake of business
Yet another scandal involving Boris Dubrovsky is looming in the Chelyabinsk region. The Governor is determined to resettle Uraim and Severny Klyuch villages against the will of their residents. Kolyma Governor Sergei Nosov suggested Dubrovsky to drive the people into bright future with iron hands. In fact, the future is bright mostly for Nosov and Dubrovsky – not for the resettled villagers.
No money to resettle
Residents of Uraim and Severny Klyuch villages located in the Chelyabinsk region addressed Deputies of the State Duma for help. After many years, Governor Boris Dubrovsky has suddenly remembered of their existence and decided to make them happy by all means. The benefactor is determined to resettle the people from their homes promising them apartments in Nyazepetrovsk. For residents of many Russian villages, such news would be a miracle. However, modern miracles require time and money. Boris Dubrovsky has neither one thing nor the other.
The budget funds ended up on accounts of his companies that had won all the governmental contracts. The situation with time is even worse. The economy is declining, while the business elite – also eager to get access to the budget funding – has a grudge against the Governor. Dubrovsky has survived two waves of gubernatorial dismissals – and the third such wave may be fatal for him. Therefore, the Governor strikes the iron while it is hot.
Officials have already visited the declining villages. They have immediately established that the homes in Uraim and Severny Klyuch are uninhabitable and designated those dilapidated housing. This has miraculously changed everything. Only yesterday, the people had durable homes suitable for the year-round living – and today they have demolition notices. The apartments promised to them exist only as a verbal instruction to the Head of the Nyazepetrovsk District to develop a "roadmap" for the forthcoming resettlement. In the bureaucratic language, this means a non-binding preliminary action plan.
On the other hand, Uraim residents have been informed that bulldozers are coming to their streets on November 1, 2019. During this period, the villagers have to find new housing, preferably – using their own forces and resources. The compensation for dilapidated housing is very low – so, it won’t burden the local budget. Dubrovsky does not care that it is insufficient to purchase new homes. There are plenty of locations where the housing will never be recognized dilapidated – even if it collapses. The residents of Uraim and Severny Klyuch have plenty of options to choose from, while the Governor needs these very villages.
Titan squares shoulders
The regional government explains its decision by concerns for people’s well-being and desire to provide them with “accessible social and transport infrastructure”. Inhabitants of Uraim and Severny Klyuch think otherwise. They are blatantly forced to relocate. Village heads have gathered the residents at rural meetings and offered them to sign blank sheets of paper. Almost all lands in Uraim and its vicinity are under an encumbrance. Many people became aware of this only from the letter of the district administration offering them to relocate on a voluntary-compulsory basis.
The lien was imposed in 2013 for seven years. Its initiator was Leks Elekta company. The right of the residents to dispute this decision was fortunately nullified by their unawareness of it. This story began back in 2017 – at that time, the company has acquired the right to develop Suroyam deposits. Since then, the fate of Uraim and all other villages affected by business interests of Leks Elekta was predetermined. Four years later, the company announced the construction of a mining and processing enterprise and promised to the region 2 billion tons of ore and $700 million per year. The investor had intended to produce the first ton of titan ore in 2017.
Suroyam multimetal ore deposits have been discovered in 1965. Their composition is unique. A broad spectrum of metals – from iron and titan to platinum and palladium – can be mined there. The deposit capacity is estimated at 11 billion tons.
The news about the future mining and processing enterprise were disseminated by many business periodicals. But residents of the doomed villages were not really interested in the business press and remained unaware of their ‘bright future’. On the other hand, the authorities and investors had not rushed to grieve the people with the forthcoming industrialization. Mikhail Yurevich, then-Governor of the Chelyabinsk Region, has shown a great consideration. His main goal was to avoid compromising the investment climate in the region – especially taking that Yurevich had estimated the required investments at $2 billion.
Foreign investors came to the Urals: German company Fleming Family Partners (later renamed into GHP Group) and Cyprus-based Cymoon Limited offshore company. At that time, Fleming Family Partners had a license to develop the deposits, while Cymoon Limited possessed required connections.
To understand the nature of Cymoon Limited, it is necessary to look at its beneficiaries.
Currently, the company director is some Nadezhda Nosova. When Yurevich was involved with the Suroyam development project, that lady was named a cousin of Sergei Nosov, then-Mayor of Nizhny Tagil. According to some information, Nosov has withdrawn from the shareholders of Cymoon Limited shortly before his appointment a Vice Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region on July 11, 2012 – the shareholding structure of Cymoon Limited had changed in April 2012.
Directors of Cymoon Limited
Left with Nosov
The interest of Nosov in the metallurgical business has a simple explanation: being a descendant of famous Soviet steelworkers, Sergei Nosov used to be a member of the Board of Directors of legendary Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works and then took charge of RusSpetsStal' company belonging to Rostec. During the rule of Nosov, RusSpetsStal' has got a twin company and a network of management companies rooted in offshore territories. Later Nosov became a politician – while still retaining his metallurgical skills. However, during the governorship of Yurevich, his project had dragged – either Yurevich had asked too much money for it tripling the amount of investments announced by Leks Elekta, or Nosov ran out of money flying to Roland-Garros tournaments. In 2015, all works have been put on hold.
Sergei Nosov, Governor of the Magadan Region
В губернаторском кресле в ту пору уже сидел Борис Дубровский, что намекало на скорую разморозку проекта. Дубровский, как и Носов, не чужд металлургии и даже работал под началом последнего. Заводская проходная «Магнитки» не только вывела двух будущих губернаторов в люди, но и свела их друг с другом. Пока потомственный металлург Носов сидел в совете директоров, Дубровский возглавлял листопрокатный цех ММК. Не чужим человеком для Носова оказался и директор «Лекс Электа» Борис Черняховский. Он работал с Носовым на ММК и следом за ним переходил во все структуры, возглавляемые Носовым, — от Нижнетагильского меткомбината до «РусСпецСтали».
By that time, Boris Dubrovsky has taken charge of the region. Similarly with Nosov, Dubrovsky is no stranger to metallurgy and used to work under his authority. Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works has drawn the two future Governors together. While ancestral metallurgist Nosov was a member of its Board of Directors, Dubrovsky was in charge of the slitting lines shop. Boris Chernyakhovsky, Director of Leks Elekta, was also familiar with Nosov. They had worked together at Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works and all other structures chaired by Nosov – from Nizhniy Tagil Iron and Steel Works to RusSpetsStal'.
Former colleagues may always find common grounds – especially taking that it is time for Dubrovsky to think about his future. The Suroyam development project has got a second wind. The grounds for the current unpopular decisions had been laid in advance. Local media outlets started publishing articles about ‘declining Uraim’ hinting that the owners of rural homes there have other places to live. 45 residents of Uraim and Severny Klyuch villages, who have addressed Valery Gartung for help, think otherwise. However, Deputy Gartung has already assessed the balance of power and promised the people driven out of their homes only to take care of fair compensations for them. A Deputy of six convocations of the State Duma must always think ahead.
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