SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH REVEALS 90% OF BEREZOVKA RESIDENTS IN FAVOR OF RELOCATION
In early 2005, the Berezovka Initiative Group decided to conduct sociological research to understand the demands of Berezovka residents regarding relocation and compensation due to the environmental and health concerns they have about the Karachaganak Oil and Gas Field in western Kazakhstan. The Initiative Group enlisted the organizational support of Crude Accountability and the expertise of Polina Malysheva, a Moscow-based sociologist, to develop the survey. Trained in sociological interview techniques, the Initiative Group conducted door-to-door interviews with decision-makers of 258 households in Berezovka during the spring and summer of 2005. The surveys were then sent to independent sociologists I.Yu. Belov and I.A. Khalii of the Russian Academy of Sciences for analysis.
An overwhelming majority—90% of Berezovka residents stated that they were in favor of relocation of their village, with only 7.8% opposed to relocation. When asked their reasons for wanting to relocate, 53.6% of respondents stated environmental conditions as the primary reason compelling them to make this decision. Thirty percent stated health as their primary reason. Unemployment was the reason given by 13% of the interviewees. When asked about a timeline for relocation, 70.9% of respondents stated that they could leave immediately, 15.5% said they could be ready in the near future. Eight percent of respondents said they did not want to leave the village. According to the survey analysis, “of the twenty who do not wish to relocate, no more than ten of the respondents truly want to remain in the village…” Among those who want to relocate, over 60% would like to conduct resettlement negotiations collectively.
The main conclusion: “the local residents consider living in this territory a problem and demand a prompt resolution, for they do not have sufficient strength or resources on their own to cope with the situation. A delay in resolving this problem or, worse yet, ignorance of the problem may lead to social tension, capable of developing into protest activity, conflict situations or apathy.”
Belov and Khalii draw the following recommendations for action as a result of their survey analysis:
- Resettlement must take into account the fact that although many respondents indicated they are interested in moving to the city, they, in fact, want to live in houses rather than apartments. According to the analysis: “if it is considered necessary or desirable to preserve these citizens as a rural population, then it makes sense to provide them with a rural location in which to live with urban amenities, so that the resettlement does not cause social tension.”
- “A large portion of the respondents would like to retain their current professional positions and status following relocation, and therefore it makes sense to not simply ensure jobs for the resettled, but to obtain their agreement to the new work conditions.”
- Citizens should be consulted prior to relocation to determine how many of them are interested in moving together to a new location.
- “It is absolutely necessary to provide people with housing and, in fact, to organize the relocation process.”
- “Resettlement conditions must be discussed with the people who have expressed readiness to create a group for conducting negotiations.”
Please feel free to download the complete survey results and analysis.
Crude Press Release
Contact: Kate Watters