Cover Osteuropa 7-9/2020

In Osteuropa 7-9/2020

Black poison
Extracting coal in the Kuzbass

Anton Lementuev

Deutsche Fassung


Coal is known as the black gold of the Kuzbass. However, for the people living in the southern Siberian region, it is poison. Coal dust endangers their health, open-caste mines are moving ever closer to their homes, and noise and dirt are a common feature of everyday life. While coal mining has been halted in many parts of the world, in the Kuzbass, the amount of coal being excavated has trebled over the past two decades. The authoritarian local government, which is hand in glove with the coal mining companies, has made the Kemerovo area almost entirely dependent on coal. This has be-come possible because the demand for coal from the Kuzbass has grown – and not least in Europe. Coal mining has made the pit owners extremely wealthy. However, for the people in the Kemerovo area, it means living against the backdrop of an ecological catastrophe.

(Osteuropa 7-9/2020, pp. 131–148)