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Russian City Ever Watchful Against Being Sucked Into Earth 110

Posted by timothy
from the if-you're-not-part-of-the-solution dept.
Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the most expensive apartment ever sold in New York City — the $88 million penthouse at 15 Central Park West — and did much for local real estate values. But in Berezniki, the mining city where he made his fortune, properties have literally been plunging. 'Imagine putting a sugar cube in a cup of tea,' Mikhail A. Permyakov, the chief land surveyor for Uralkali, the company that owns the mine. 'That is what happened under Berezniki.' Berezniki is afflicted by sinkholes, hundreds of feet deep, that can open at a moment's notice. So grave is the danger that the entire city is under 24-hour video surveillance. In 2008 a government commission cleared Mr. Rybolovlev of wrongdoing, blaming past unsafe practices for the sinkholes. A senior official close to Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin says that Mr. Rybolovlev bears some responsibility, even though he sold the mine after the occurrence of the first great openings."
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Russian City Ever Watchful Against Being Sucked Into Earth

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  • money talks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2012 @02:05AM (#39683263)

    if one thinks the US has problems with wealthy, influential people, just look to Russia to see how bad it can get.

    • Re:money talks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @02:19AM (#39683309) Journal

      if one thinks the world has problems with wealthy, influential people, just look everywhere to see how bad it can get.

      FTFY

      • by MrKaos (858439)

        if one thinks the world has problems with wealthy, influential people, just look everywhere to see how bad it can get.

        FTFY

        But since everyone wants to be one of these people no one want to have unions to represent their interests.

        • Re:money talks (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2012 @08:54AM (#39684415)

          In my experience Unions are run by people who want to be Wealth influential people. They don't really care about the works they are supposed to represent.

          • by MrKaos (858439) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @09:03AM (#39684459) Journal

            In my experience Unions are run by people who want to be Wealth influential people. They don't really care about the works they are supposed to represent.

            Well your free to have your opinion Mr Murdoch.

            • Re:money talks (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @10:53AM (#39685185)

              In my experience Unions are run by people who want to be Wealth influential people. They don't really care about the works they are supposed to represent.

              Well your free to have your opinion Mr Murdoch.

              He's right though. If unions were about representing the worker, they wouldn't be so hard to leave or disband. Once they are created they care more about growing and consolidating their power and influence. I've seen firsthand the lengths unions will go to to try to stay in power. Harassing people at their homes, getting the NLRB to change rules to give them a better chance to get voted in, and complaining and charging interference when the company advertises to its employees when the vote is. Not who to vote for, just when it is. You cannot claim to represent the workers when you don't even want the workers to vote.

              • by RodBee (2607323)
                Not every union acts the same way, you know. There are places with better unionist legislation where they work fine.
              • You can when the company runs around telling the workers if the union goes away their pay and benefits will increase. When reality is half of them will be laid off.
                • by Fjandr (66656)

                  Just because an employer doesn't represent an employee's best interest does not automatically mean an existing union does.

                  The fact that organized crime has long been involved with unions just goes to show they're a great vehicle for money and power. Those sorts of vehicles attract exactly the sort of people you don't want driving them. No, they're not all bad, but neither are they all good. The knee-jerk jumping to the defense of all unions when someone points out something which is both negative and true d

                  • by RockDoctor (15477)

                    Just because an employer doesn't represent an employee's best interest does not automatically mean an existing union does.

                    Which is why The Bitch Queen [wikipedia.org], Thatcher spent years trying to make it impossible to set up a new trade union, and we (www.oilc.org) responded by setting up a new trade union. We've outlasted the bitch's mind, are still going strong, and look forward to pissing on her grave.

              • by MrKaos (858439)

                In my experience Unions are run by people who want to be Wealth influential people. They don't really care about the works they are supposed to represent.

                Well your free to have your opinion Mr Murdoch.

                He's right though. If unions were about representing the worker, they wouldn't be so hard to leave or disband. Once they are created they care more about growing and consolidating their power and influence. I've seen firsthand the lengths unions will go to to try to stay in power. Harassing people at their homes, getting the NLRB to change rules to give them a better chance to get voted in, and complaining and charging interference when the company advertises to its employees when the vote is. Not who to vote for, just when it is. You cannot claim to represent the workers when you don't even want the workers to vote.

                Are you talking about US unions?

                • by Nidi62 (1525137)

                  Are you talking about US unions?

                  Very much so.

                  • by MrKaos (858439)

                    Are you talking about US unions?

                    Very much so.

                    Ok, I don't know the specifics of US Unions. Are they legally liable for strike actions? If they are then this dramatically affects their effectiveness when confronted with a hostile employer. Membership then becomes more critical and the actions available to the Union attract individuals who seek power to the management ranks of the Union.

                    I have long been curious about this situation in the US. Having seen some of the woeful situations for workers in US companies it seems obvious that the need for a repr

          • by drsmithy (35869)

            In my experience Unions are run by people who want to be Wealth influential people. They don't really care about the works they are supposed to represent.

            Though, with that said, aligning yourself with the people who are at least pretending to help everyone is more likely to produce a positive result for you than aligning with the people just blatantly fucking everyone else over.

            • by Fjandr (66656)

              I prefer to know exactly where people stand, myself. So, I personally go out of my way to avoid working with people who make that their standard mode of operation if I find out that's what they're doing. At least with people who are blatant about fucking everyone over, determining my position of opposition is really quite simple.

              • Which is more likely to find, a union that seeks to look after its members or a company who is willing to exploit its employees. I don't know about the states but where I'm from its easy to find a union that is genuine, so long as its not SIPTU
                • by Fjandr (66656)

                  The likelihood of one being greater than the other is irrelevant. I judge them each by their own merits, and don't stand in defense of all when an argument of wrongdoing is leveled at one. A knee-jerk reaction to see an indictment of specific behavior as an attack on an entire sector is irrational and counter-productive, in much the same way that using specific bad acts as a means to condemn an entire sector is irrational and counter-productive. Both are also too bloody common.

                  That said, finding links to or

      • by Tore S B (711705)
        If one thinks that it is not solvable by action by the electorate, look to Scandinavia to see that significant inroads can be made without sacrificing economic productivity.
    • I appreciate with you. That's right, why we blame each other. You have to see the other countries people, what are the doing...
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      if one thinks the US has problems with wealthy, influential people, just look to Russia to see how bad it can get.

      If one thinks it can get worse in Russia than it can here, just wait and watch.

    • In Soviet Russia, hole buries you!

    • Russian baby dies in sewer after pavement collapse [reuters.com]

      (Reuters) - A toddler was swept to his death down a sewage pipe in the western Russian city of Bryansk on Sunday after a pavement gave way while his mother was taking him for a walk.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      The point is, it's the wealthy, influential people who are the problem.

      • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drainbramage (588291)

        That was the point?
        So, you get rid of the wealthy then everyone will be rich and there will be no crime?
        Do I get a pony too?

        • by Lotana (842533)

          So, you get rid of the wealthy then everyone will be rich and there will be no crime?

          That is the jist of the rallying cry of Bolshevics during the Civil War and it seems to have worked very well in getting people to follow them. Lets hope that the world will learn from that incident of history and will never see a repeat of it.

      • Re:money talks (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @11:00AM (#39685221)

        The point is, it's the wealthy, influential people who are the problem.

        No, the point is it's the sociopathic people who are the problem. It just so happens that many of the rich happen to be sociopathic, but they can be seen in all strata of a society. They care only about themselves, and will enrich themselves at the expense of others. But it is unfair to say it is the wealthy that are the problem. Look at Warren Buffet, who advocates for heavy taxes on the wealthy, or Bill and Melinda Gates, who donate much of their money to charity. There are plenty of wealthy people that, while they still try to further their wealth (which is what "pursuit of happiness" originally meant), still believe they have social responsibilities to those less fortunate than them, or to the government.

        • by RodBee (2607323)

          At the same time, Mr. Gates mega-corporation wage patent wars with everyone. And promotes blatant monopolism (this word does exist? My spell-checker seems to disagree) in its product.

          The true problem isn't THE SINNERS. People are not essentially good or bad (even your so blamed psychopaths, for that matter) and are prone to make bad decisions (or even being oblivious to the bad decisions made in her name) from time to time. I don't know if Gates is a nice guy or is just trying to generate some good PR karma

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RCourtney (973307)
      FTA: "The largest sinkhole appeared in 2007."

      I thinks its even worse than you think since the only reason this tycoon is being made an example of NOW is that he probably forgot to pay his dues and/or respects to soon-to-be-president-again Putin. At least that has been the narrative in the past when some wealthy Russian falls from grace.

      In Soviet Russia, the corrupt decorrupt you.
  • by toygeek (473120) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @02:25AM (#39683325) Homepage Journal

    Everything but the kitchen sinking!

  • Hole in one, guaranteed!

    Please replace sinkho^H^H^H^H^H divots

  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @02:30AM (#39683341)
    Sink holes are quite common in many places around the world. There are no mines under Centurion, yet a sink hole occurs multiple times per year in the dolomite areas.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2012 @02:46AM (#39683393)

    “We will fight the holes with science,” the mayor, Sergei P. Dyakov, said in an interview.

    Meanwhile in America, we hold prayer vigils for rain.

    • I would fight the holes with my legs. And run and get the Hell out of that place.

      The most appropriate time to use the hackneyed phrase:

      "It's sinkholes. All the way down."

    • by DAldredge (2353)
      I have yet to see the NOAA hold such a vigial.
  • 2012 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mutherhacker (638199) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @02:49AM (#39683399)

    The year where an apartment in manhattan is sold for an amount that can feed a small country for a month.

    • by echucker (570962)
      2012 is no different than any year over the last 30 in that respect, I'd bet.
    • by MrKaos (858439)

      The year where an apartment in manhattan is sold for an amount that can feed a small country for a month.

      It would probably build a fair portion of the city on the other side of the river 'where the bedrock is sound'

    • Re:2012 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tomhath (637240) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @10:14AM (#39684923)
      I understand your point, however two other points to keep in mind: 1) The money didn't disappear, it just changed pockets. 2) If you tried to spend that money to feed a small country that needed to be fed it, would almost certainly end up arming a warlord's henchmen. Don't worry about #1, solve #2 first.
      • 1) theft
        2) false dichotomy

    • The year where an apartment in manhattan is sold for an amount that can feed a small country for a month.

      It's impossible - there's a fixed amount of NYC real estate, so the total value can't increase over time. The Keynesians have told me so!

  • by nyan.kitty256 (2471158) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @02:50AM (#39683405)
    Didn't anyone inform them that things tend to disappear in Russia? In this case, the entire city.
  • In the west (Score:5, Funny)

    by swamp_ig (466489) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @03:06AM (#39683439)

    In the west you sink money into mining investments, in russia money in mining investments sink YOU!

  • Grave (Score:5, Funny)

    by TeknoHog (164938) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @03:07AM (#39683445) Homepage Journal

    So grave is the danger

    I see what you did there.

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @03:24AM (#39683489)
    Corporate profits always come first. Coal fires are a problem in some areas and at least one town had to be abandoned since the fires can last for decades and possibly centuries. Many towns had to be abandoned over industrial pollution and yet I constantly hear it's government regulations that cause the problems. How much of the planet do we sacrifice to greed? I'm not talking about halting progress this is about people cutting corners to make higher profits. Coal companies were supposed to have phased in safe guards to limit mercury and other heavy metals from being released but they ignored the regulations and now want them thrown out. A lot of cheap power depends on ignoring the problems it causes. In coal country areas near power plants have cancer rates through the roof. There's a price of pain and suffering. Often in the end the government ends up picking up the bill for health care and clean up. So long as corporations are protected and the people that run them are safe from being held accountable this will continue to happen. Change the rules and bankrupt the owners and corporate heads of the companies and see how fast it all changes.
    • by rtb61 (674572) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @03:37AM (#39683525) Homepage

      Definitely looks like Russia has learnt the lesson of privatisation well. Privatise the profits and socialise the costs. How come when you buy an existing mine you get the profits but get to deny responsibilities for the mine, where exactly do they squeeze that nifty clause or is that just post contract corruption.

      • by DrKnark (1536431) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:22AM (#39683945)

        There are a few places in Sweden where entire towns are in the process of being gradually moved due to the expansion of neighboring mines. The thing is, these towns were built _because_ of those mines in the first place, generations ago. The citizens don't mind, they actually support it, since they know their towns would become ghost towns without the mines.

        That being said, from the sound of things this town should have undergone similar procedures a long time ago. But there is more than one side to this type of situation.

        • Sweden has a progressive tax system which pays for the move ... in Russia if you aren't connected to the government you're almost irrelevant, other than to be a moron to be manipulated to give Putin a shine of legitimacy.

          • by DrKnark (1536431)

            Sweden has a progressive tax system which pays for the move

            While I don't know the details, I do know that a good chunk if not all of the cost is paid by the mining companies. Either way if tax money is being used that money is easily recouped in the form of taxes from the mining operation.

            in Russia if you aren't connected to the government you're almost irrelevant, other than to be a moron to be manipulated to give Putin a shine of legitimacy.

            I do see your point and I'm not surprised, I guess in Russia neither the mining company nor the government would pay for an operation like this, screwing over the local residents.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If the town would not be on top of the mine, these sinkholes in town would not appear and this would be non-news.

        Guess why the town is on top of the mine? Because it was originally a Soviet labor camp and built on walking distance from point of prime interest, the mine in this case. It's quite hard to blame "privatisation" for this decision. Also, if these sinkholes would appear on a mine in the middle of Siberia with no population above them, nobody would care. Those wouldn't be even environmental issue -

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ask yourself what is being done to the people that cause so much damage. Ask yourself why they are protected by regulations from actual restitution. Ask yourself why profit is defined not by the net value a company brings to society.

      When you hear people denouncing statist regulation as the source of these problems and championing voluntary and peaceful solutions, all you have to do to see that it is true is to look at the definition of a corporation: it is a government enforced legal shield from liability.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by roman_mir (125474)

      Corporate profits always come first.

      - Oh, so you are telling me that the corporate profits come out of thin air, that people are not participating in this bargain deal, getting this stuff cheaply?

      Many towns had to be abandoned over industrial pollution and yet I constantly hear it's government regulations that cause the problems.

      - yes, it is government that is causing the problem in nearly all cases where mining is involved. Whose land is it?

      The gov't holds this so called 'public land', well then how come corporations can mine on it? So it's the government that allows the corporations to mine on land that is held public. Same with oil drilling and the 75 Million USD liab

      • (...) if that money was actually immediately earmarked for purposes of controlling any pollution running off such lands (...)

        Yes? And why would that suddenly happen just because the govt didn't own the lands? The "holy hand of the free market" would touch their hearts and make them immune to corruption?

        Your "solution" doesn't solve the real problem.

        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by roman_mir (125474)

          Yes? And why would that suddenly happen just because the govt didn't own the lands? The "holy hand of the free market" would touch their hearts and make them immune to corruption?

          - can't you read? I didn't say that would just 'automatically happen', I proposed something - that government is supposed to take care of property it supposedly 'owns'.

          So when somebody pollutes and this pollution crosses to the 'public property', government would be liable to protect it but also would have the resources to do so, because these resources would come from the auctions of those pieces of 'public land' that would be sold on the market.

          How did you read it that it was going to happen 'automatical

      • Let's disregard the smaller stuff. Can't really comb the nonsense above sentence by sentence. Nor would we want to right?
        I mean, when one touts "free market" claiming that people get things cheaply from corporations motivated only by profit, blindly disregarding the "what market can bear" principle of pricing... what can you do to such a person?

        They are either lying their ass off to promote their own agenda, or they have a few of the wires in their noggin crossed.
        And since I'm of firm belief that people ARE

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        The government is formed by the people. These are all people created problems.

        People don't survive individually. Everybody should grow up and accept it. Government is necessary because people are immature little brats that only care about themselves (which is why they're so against government).

        • by roman_mir (125474)

          Individuals are against unrestrained growth of government because a growing government is a growing tyranny. Individuals agree on the role of the government (at least in USA it was individuals who got together and formed the federal gov't) and they put limits on what the gov't can do.

          Clearly it didn't work out to prevent the growth, so some new methods will have to be devised, it's not like we have the perfect solutions to prevent government from growing, on the contrary, our solutions are very imperfect, w

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Corporate profits always come first. Coal fires are a problem in some areas and at least one town had to be abandoned since the fires can last for decades and possibly centuries.

      Citation needed. The fire that eventually resulted in the abandonment of Centralia, PA, was started when a fire at the local garbage dump ignited a natural coal seam that lay near the surface. Evil mining companies had nothing to do with the fire. Don't blame job-creating business owners and corporations for natural disasters... blame your choice of either Mother Nature or God.

      • by moortak (1273582) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @09:49AM (#39684765)
        Centralia is only the best known coal fire in the US. Some are not mine related, some like Laurel run PA are. Centralia is a mix. The fire was started at a landfill, but that landfill was located in an abandonded strip mine. The natural coal seam wouldn't have been near the surface had it not been for the mine.
      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        Mother nature or God? Don't you mean those dirty people who pile all their garbage in one place to poison the land?
        • As opposed to spreading their garbage out, which results in rainbows and unicorns? The problem is garbage, not people. You Americans have to realize that there's more to life than consuming stuff and creating landfills. Go take a walk outside.
          • by Jmc23 (2353706)
            Well, thanks for the insult but i'm not a US'ian.

            Don't be dumb, obviously the answer is not spreading it out, like fallacies much? The garbage isn't the problem, it's inanimate. The problem is people generating and consuming non-biodegradable products and then disposing of them in a manner that insures that they won't breakdown for centuries to come even if there is biodegradable stuff inside.

    • by MrKaos (858439)

      Corporate profits always come first. Coal fires are a problem in some areas and at least one town had to be abandoned since the fires can last for decades and possibly centuries. Many towns had to be abandoned over industrial pollution and yet I constantly hear it's government regulations that cause the problems. How much of the planet do we sacrifice to greed? I'm not talking about halting progress this is about people cutting corners to make higher profits. Coal companies were supposed to have phased in safe guards to limit mercury and other heavy metals from being released but they ignored the regulations and now want them thrown out. A lot of cheap power depends on ignoring the problems it causes. In coal country areas near power plants have cancer rates through the roof. There's a price of pain and suffering. Often in the end the government ends up picking up the bill for health care and clean up. So long as corporations are protected and the people that run them are safe from being held accountable this will continue to happen. Change the rules and bankrupt the owners and corporate heads of the companies and see how fast it all changes.

      must...use.....white.space.

    • by russotto (537200)

      Corporate profits always come first. Coal fires are a problem in some areas and at least one town had to be abandoned since the fires can last for decades and possibly centuries. Many towns had to be abandoned over industrial pollution and yet I constantly hear it's government regulations that cause the problems.

      If you mean Centralia, PA, you might want to see which "corporation" started the fire.

  • Video surveillance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2012 @03:29AM (#39683501)

    "So grave is the danger that the entire city is under 24-hour video surveillance."
    I guess London must be on its way down as well.

  • Libertarian utopia (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    what's not to like?

  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @05:34AM (#39683819) Journal

    Sound likes Centralia, PA-
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centralia,_Pennsylvania [wikipedia.org]
    Except without all the hellfire. And in Centralia they did do it to themselves by setting their own mine on fire. I didn't get enough info from TFA to have an opinion if the mines were done badly enough to reach criminal levels, especially since it's being caused by a natural process and they did try to stop it. If they do hold Rybo responsible, would it even be enough to help the town out?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_of_Kiruna

  • We sink you!

  • I love ambiguous story summaries. Anybody else think that the quote, "Imagine putting a sugar cube in a cup of tea," was referring to the buildings, not to, "the walls and pillars of salt that miners had left to support the ceilings of huge underground caverns began to dissolve?"
  • by tomhath (637240) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @10:20AM (#39684963)
    ...is the best/worst example of a city that's sinking [dailymail.co.uk]. Too many people, too much water being pumped out from under it. And the Aztec Gods are still mad about what happened to their people.
    • by RockDoctor (15477)

      And the Aztec Gods are still mad about what happened to their people.

      And with typical religious logic, the Aztec gods are expressing their wrath by hurting the descendents of the people who the Aztec gods didn't support sufficiently in the first place

  • In democratic Europe the miners move the town (Kiruna [wikipedia.org]).

Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.

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