The head of Bashkortostan has suspended work on the mountain Kushtau

17 August 2020

The head of Bashkiria Radiy Khabirov told protesters against the development of mount Kushtau about suspending work until a compromise is found, the regional government reported.

"BSC (Bashkir soda company) is leaving, you should leave as well. I give my word that no one will go to this mountain until we find a compromise solution," Khabirov said protesters.

According to the press service of the head of the region, clashes between employees of the Bashkir soda company (BSC) and environmental activists continued on Saturday and Sunday.

"I am against extremism and I ask everyone to stop. We all need to stop. I ask the most active people to sit down with us at the negotiating table. We are ready to understand the situation bit by bit. We will stop fighting, we will not allow anyone else to fight," Khabirov said.

Kushtau is one of shihans (solitary mountains) near the town of Sterlitamak. At the end of last year, Khabirov allowed  Bashkir soda company to develop the mountain-otherwise, in 2022, the company faces a halt due to a lack of raw materials and a thousand residents of Sterlitamak will be left without work. The work is opposed by environmental activists who picket deforestation on Shihan. Public safety on the site is provided by police and OMON.

The Shihan consists of four single-mountain mountains: Toratau, Shakhtau, Yuraktau and Kushtau,  forming a narrow chain stretching along the Belaya River. Since Soviet times, BSC developed one of them, Shakhtau,, which is now almost disappeared. According to the company, mountain Toratau is suitable to develop, but it has the status of a natural object. The Bashkiria authorities suggested that the soda company develop Kushtau, and in order to save the remaining Shikhan, they created the "Toratau" Geopark, which included natural monuments of Republican significance Toratau and Yuraktau.


GSV "Russia - Islamic World"

Photo: Creative Commons

Based on materials from RIA Novosti