Russia: Evenk indigenous community leader sentenced to 4 years in jail for allegedly opposing "Petropavlovsk" gold mining firm - company & shareholders respond

 

Sergei Nikiforov, an Evenki indigenous people’s leader and environmental rights defender, has been imprisoned allegedly for opposing UK-based Petropavlovsk gold mining project in the Amur region of Russia.

In December 2015 we invited Petropavlovsk PLC to respond, but it did not. In April 2016 we invited firm's reported shareholders to respond. Prudential plc & UBS Switzerland AG responded. Sothic Capital European Opportunities Master Fund Limited, Cape View Capital LLP, and D.E. Shaw & Co did not respond. 

On 26 May 2016 the office of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mr. Michel Forst, and other UN mandate holders sent a letter to the Russian Government asking it to investigate and address the alleged abuses against Sergey Nikiforov and to inform him of the resulting actions. We again invited Petropavlovsk PLC and its reported shareholders to respond. Petropavlovsk PLC did not respond. UBS Switzerland AG responded. Prudential plc, Sothic Capital European Opportunities Master Fund Limited, Cape View Capital LLP, and D.E. Shaw & Co did not respond.

However, Petropavlovsk sent a response about these allegations in May 2017, available below. Materials with full information and the companies' responses & non-responses are below.

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Company response
7 July 2017

Petropavlovsk response to Olga Murashko's rejoinder

Author: Petropavlovsk PLC

In her rejoinder to the letter from the Petropavlovsk representative, Olga Murashko gives examples which in her assessment illustrate "the firm resistance of the residents of the village and its chairman Sergei Nikiforov to the numerous attempts of Petropavlovsk and its subsidiaries (Hergu, Tyemy and others) to obtain licenses for gold mining within the borders of the Ivanovo municipality ". In her rejoinder, many facts are attributed to Petropavlovsk incorrectly or inaccurately. Below, Petropavlovsk responds to these in the order mentioned in the rejoinder...The proceedings of the public hearings, in which the residents of the Ivanovskoye village voiced their support for Albyn, are attached to Petropavlovsk’s letter (Proceedings of the Public Hearings)...The first part of Olga Murashko’s analysis is devoted to Hergu and to the protests made by Evenks in Ivanovskoye against its activities. CJSC HERGU...is not part of the Petropavlovsk Group of companies. This is confirmed by a number of open sources...The letter of protest dated 22nd February 2012 is not related to Petropavlovsk - it is fully dedicated to CJSC Hergu. Neither Petropavlovsk nor its subsidiaries participated in the auction described...The organisation DalTeploEnergo is not a subsidiary of Petropavlovsk PLC, nor is it affiliated with the Company. As far as Petropavlovsk is aware, it was independently selected by Mr S.S. Nikiforov and the Ivanovo Village Council, who appointed it as a contractor...

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7 July 2017

Proceedings of Ivanovskoye public hearings (Russian only)

Author: Petropavlovsk PLC

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6 July 2017

Decision of Ivanovskoye villagers (Russian only)

Author: Ivanovsloye village council

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NGO rejoinder
6 July 2017

Olga Murashko's rejoinder to Petropavlovsk response

Author: Olga Murashko, Ethnographer, Research Institute and Museum of Anthropology, Moscow State University, Editor of the almanac “In the world of indigenous peoples”

In her response, the employee of the Petropavlovsk PLC, describing the positive aspects of the company's interaction with the Ivanovoskoye village residents and personally with the head of the village administration Sergei Savelievich Nikiforov, who is now serving a term in a corrective colony with strict regime, considered the facts of cooperation she provided as sufficient evidence of the company's non-involvement in his dismissal from the post of head of the village administration and subsequent conviction. Herewith the response ignores the facts of a tough resistance of the villagers and the Chairman of the village Sergei Nikiforov to numerous attempts by the Petropavlovsk PLC and its subsidiaries "Khergu", "Temi", and others to obtain licenses for gold mining within the boundaries of the Ivanovskoye municipality. The company reports about the 2011 public hearings, which allegedly it held in the Ivanovskoye, when its project received support from 88 villagers. We are not aware of any documentary evidence of these hearings. However, there is a document on the Decision of the village meeting dated February 22, 2012...[T]he villagers...have decided [to]...Contact Administration for Subsoil Use in the Amur Region, President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Governor of the Amur Region O.N. Kozhemyako, political parties of the Russian Federation, and media to revoke the license of ZAO “Khergu” for geological studies, exploration and mining of placer gold in the basins of Elga Bolshaya river, in the valley of Ivanovskiy and Bogorodskiy rivulets, Selemdzhinskiy district...

 

 

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Company response
24 May 2017

Response by Petropavlovsk PLC

Author: Petropavlovsk PLC

We write in response to accusations published on your website regarding Mr Sergey Savelievich Nikiforov, former head of the Evenki village, Ivanovskoye (Amur region), in particular the accusation that he was sentenced to 4 years in prison in connection with a protest movement he led against Petropavlovsk PLC and its developments. Petropavlovsk has no connection with the criminal prosecution of Mr Nikiforov; the aforementioned accusations are groundless and do not reflect the truth. Petropavlovsk established its presence in the north-east of the Seledzhinsky district in 2010 and developed a strong relationship with the village administration, as represented by Mr Nikiforov...In 2013...following a court decision, Mr Nikiforov was dismissed from his office for a period of investigation and judicial proceedings, after being charged with taking a bribe from a company “DalTeploEnergo”. This company is not at all affiliated with the Petropavlovsk Group of Companies.

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Company response
8 November 2016

UBS Switzerland AG's response (Nov 2016)

Author: UBS Switzerland AG

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Company non-response
7 November 2016

Cape View Capital LLP did not respond (Nov 2016)

Company non-response
7 November 2016

D.E. Shaw & Co did not respond (Nov 2016)

Company non-response
7 November 2016

Prudential plc did not respond (Nov 2016)

Company non-response
7 November 2016

Sothic Capital European Opportunities Master Fund Limited did not respond (Nov 2016)