Like a bad dream, this horrific boondoggle pipeline project directly through the UNESCO World Heritage Site on the ecologically fragile Ukok Plateau has risen again.
We had such hope last fall, when it was revealed that there was about a 25% difference between what China was willing to pay, and what Russian wanted to receive.
But Gazprom has now stated its intention to move forward with the pipeline construction, even though there is no agreement with China on price, even though the costs will outweigh the projected profits, even though it is a gross violation of Russia's commitment to protect world heritage sites, even though it is in violation of Russian environmental laws.
The only winner will be the huge construction companies that build the pipeline. Your donation will directly support the Altai activists resisting this travesty on behalf of their people, but also on behalf the the world.
Thank you for your continued support of the sacred Altai culture. Your contribution during the winter is especially valuable, because materials for the construction of the new Altai cultural revival center must be ready to go when spring comes to Altai. The nice weather doesn't last long!
A great start was made last summer, with construction of the perimeter fencing, outhouse, outdoor kitchen shelter, and two small traditional buildings for sleeping and storage. Even at that interim stage a month-long summer music camp for local village children was organized -- using as counselors the young throat-singers whose education we support in a different project.
Protection of the Altai culture is a win for the whole world. Please give generously!
Up until today, the Russian energy giant Gazprom has decreed that a gas pipeline must be routed directly through one of the world’s most precious valleys—Altai’s Ukok Plateau—in the process not only desecrating the UNESCO World Heritage Site there, but jeopardizing the entire Altai culture as well.
But today, a glimmer of hope appeared, when the Altai Pipeline did not appear on Gazprom’s announcements of current projects. However, international pressure must continue, because the stakes are so high, and because it is still uncertain if the project has been abandoned.
The unified protests of the Altai people have been treated with contempt. Even the projected unprofitability had been insufficient to counter the lucrative construction contracts. Preparation for construction already began last summer, despite the absence of legally required permits.
Please sign the international petition that was initiated by a local indigenous resident at http://www.culturalsurvival.org/category/campaigns/russiachina-pipeline-threatens-sacred-highlands, and to contribute what you can to the legal defense of the plateau.
The high Ukok Plateau in the center of the Altai Mountains, called by Herodotes “the pastures of heaven,” is a place worthy of its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a permafrost plateau at the very southern edge of Siberia, surrounded by Russian peaks on the north, but by Mongolian, Chinese, and Kazakh peaks in the east, south, and west. It can only be reached via 10,000-foot-high passes.
The plateau is breathtakingly beautiful and pristine. Nobody but the spirits of Altai and a large number of endangered species live on the plateau. It is a place of palpable power. The Altai people who are attuned with the place know that the so-called “burial mounds” are part of an ancient and sophisticated energy system that keeps the crust of the Earth stable.