Completion of Yana Tannagasheva’s Video Project “Coal Kills Us”

Below is a summary of the Shor activist Yana Tannagasheva’s video project “Coal Kills Us” (ADC Memorial supported its distribution).

The Shor are a small indigenous people living in southern Kemerovo Oblast and in neighboring districts of the Republic of Khakassia, the Altai Republic, and Krasnoyarsk and Altai krais. ADC Memorial has repeatedly written about violations of the environmental rights of the Shor people.

In her project, Yana speaks about the tragedy of Shor villages that have been literally covered with coal dust. The natural world in southern Siberia is not the only thing harmed by open-pit mining – the Indigenous peoples of this region are suffering as their traditional environment is being destroyed and it is becoming impossible for them to practice Indigenous trades like hunting and fishing.

Yana speaks about the fate of her native Shor village of Kazas, where a coal mine appeared in the 21st century. After residents refused to sell their homes to the coal company, fires were started in the village and homes burned down. Now the village has been abandoned and can only be accessed through a checkpoint run by the coal company.

Each video story talks about the harm caused by open-pit mining and its impact on air and water pollution and the natural and animal world of southern Siberia. Indigenous residents face blackmail and threats if they refuse to sell their land. During industrial mining, the sacred natural and cultural sites and historical monuments of Indigenous peoples are destroyed. All of this forces members of Indigenous peoples to move to cities, where, isolated from their traditional territories, they lose their identity, culture, and language.

All ten of the videos with Russian subtitles can be viewed on ADC Memorial’s YouTube channel, while the original videos in English have been uploaded to the YouTube channel of the “Coal Kills Us” video project. They can also be found on Yana Tannagasheva’s social media accounts: facebook, instagram, twitter.