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When Will They Party Enough: How Occupants Destroy Cape Mehanom

December 01, 2020 13:30 0 3566
Cape Mehanom near the town of Sudak has always been known for its crystal clear water, making it one of the favorite holiday destinations for Crimean residents. Besides, the cape is rich with Red Book species, which are rare not just for the territory of Ukraine but for the whole world. At this moment, this unique natural ecosystem faces a risk of destruction. This is because occupants chose this location to build an art-cluster “Tavrida.” This project is being conducted under the direct support of Vladimir Putin.

Occupants are conduction active construction works on the territory of the resort “Mehanom Peninsula” near the town of Sudak. The territory of this area landmark spreads over 850 hectares. The constant fight of local residents against bulldozers and construction developers does not look promising. People are trying to defend the cape Mehanom and Kapsel valley. Every time they ask the developers to provide supporting documents that allow this construction, they hear no answer. All letters to Russian state institutions, as well as to the Russian president, receive no response.

Activists block the roads, organize protests, attempt to prevent construction equipment from working. But construction workers always come back. Moreover, on November 19, 2020, one of the activists has received an official warning to avoid “extremist activity.” 

In spring 2019, the cape Mehanom became a favorite place for the Russian youth forum “Tavrida.” This project has the direct support of Vladimir Putin. Forum “Tavrida” has received over 50 hectares of land between the mountain Alchak-Kaya and the natural landmark “Mehanom Peninsula.”

Meanwhile, the Russian Federal Service for State Registration, Cadaster, and Cartography has provided the cadaster registration numbers to four land plots that are reserved for tourist services. Those plots of land are located on the territory of a nature reserve, recognized as a natural conservation area by the Crimean Supreme Council in December 2007.

This, however, did not prevent occupants from proceeding with the construction. In August 2019, they developed a new nature conservation project, which changed the resort’s boundaries. The boundaries moved to North-East and became smaller in the West. Therefore, all the construction objects appeared outside of the resort area. As a result, this resort will be stripped of a coastal steppe line that is one kilometer wide in the north to South and a line that is 500 meters wide from West to

Back in the 2000s, the process of providing a natural resort status to cape Mehanom was not as easy as the process of amending that status in 2019. The boundaries of the resort were justified by scientific ecological studies by the Yalta institute of ecology and engineering

According to the official information, the former conservation zone will be used for a noncommercial project. That will involve the construction of an education center “for young cultural professionals,” which will be partially completed in 2022. It is also planned to construct an art-park with free access. And, of course, this place will receive a regular forum. Years of occupation taught Crimeans that all “non-commercial projects without fences” always turn into restricted commercial areas after the construction is complete. Besides, by looking at the map, everyone can see that hopes for free access to the beach are slim. The registered designated use for those lands is coded 5.2.1 in the cadaster. These numbers mean that the land will be used for “Construction of resorts, tourist hotels, camping sites, holiday hotels that do not provide medical services, as well as other buildings that are used to extract commercial benefits from providing residential units for a temporary living; accommodation of children’s camps” (implemented by order of the Ministry for the economic development of Russia on September 20, 2019 #709)”.

According to the Russian legislation, this kind of construction requires public hearings, where developers are required to explain what they are planning to build and how this construction will influence ecology. Nobody ever discussed those construction plans with local residents. There was not a hint of such hearings in Sudak.

Currently, developers are building a workers site for 2000 workers and installing fences; trucks are moving sand and gravel, roads are being built.

Besides, the creators of the project assure that they will not harm the unique ecosystem. This, however, is very debatable.

This territory is an essential place for the migration of birds. Those birds have chosen cape Mehanom to rest for a reason. Cape Mehanom lies on the shortest distance in the direction to Turkey. Therefore, quails, Calandra Larks, and other birds make stops on the cape before a long flight. Besides, this cape is home to 10 species of birds that are considered to be rare and registered in the European Red List. The whole list consists of 130 species that will appear at risk.

The steppe ecosystem also appears at risk. These are essential water supply areas. In the steppe, water sinks into the soil and reaches the subsurface horizons, where it eventually accumulates. Destruction of the steppe will mean that the underground water reserves will significantly reduce. Considering a severe problem with the water supply in Crimea, these actions of occupants are surprising, to say the least.

Unfortunately, the coastal line of the peninsula is increasingly developed by occupants. The unique landmarks are being turned into concrete jungles. This all affects animals, plants, and people of the area. Instead of parks and yacht-clubs, occupants are building private apartments, surround coastal lines with fences, and prevent Crimean residents from accessing the sea. By destroying our Crimea and calling eco-activists extremists, occupants do not understand that they themselves are ecological terrorists.

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