Cover Osteuropa 7-9/2020

In Osteuropa 7-9/2020

A disaster waiting to happen
The oil spill in Norilsk

Olesja Vikulova, Violetta Rjabko, Lukas Latz

Deutsche Fassung


In May 2020, around 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil leaked into the environment. The damage caused to the sensitive Arctic ecosystems has been enormous. The accident sheds light on a general problem: climate protection regulations have many loopholes, and the state-run climate monitoring authorities have little power. Businesses are hardly monitored at all, and the corrupt system means that they are able to avoid meeting environmental standards. The penalties that have to be paid after accidents occur are lower than the cost of repairing and replacing dilapidated installations. The situation is becoming worse, since climate change is accelerating the rate at which permafrost is melting. The subsoil on which industrial plants are built is becoming increasingly unstable. If nothing is done, the number of leakages and accidents will increase.

(Osteuropa 7-9/2020, pp. 271–278)