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Garbage piles up in streets of Makhachkala as city charges disposal firm with fraud

3 February 2021
A camel eating rubbish piled up in the streets of Makhachkala. Image via regoperator05/Instagram.

Rubbish has been piling up in the streets of the Daghestani capital, Makhachkala, for over a month due to a dispute between the city and the local waste management firm.

Waste collection firm Lider has not been collecting rubbish since mid-January after failing to reach an agreement with the authorities over tariffs.

Since the dispute began, the local Prosecutor’s Office have charged the company with creating an illegal landfill on the outskirts of the city.

According to the company’s contract with the authorities, waste from Makhachkala and other cities was to be taken to a landfill near the city of Izberbash, 60 kilometres south of Makhachkala.

Investigators have accused former Lider CEO Dmitry Zuyev and acting CEO Murad Gadzhimagomedov of pocketing around ₽250 million ($4.3 million) by not disposing of the waste properly. Zuyev has been detained and his bail hearing is set for Thursday.

The authorities have said they hope the waste crisis will be over by early March.

Deputy Prime Minister of Daghestan, Vladimir Lemeshko, announced a week ago that temporary agreements had been reached with two companies, Gorservis and Makhachkala-1. The companies will be tasked with waste management in Makhachkala until the end of 2021.

According to local newspaper Chernovik, in the absence of proper waste removal, the authorities have begun to force civil servants to collect rubbish during both their work hours and days off.

On 1 February, the authorities in Untsukul District, a mountainous district 50 kilometres west of Makhachkala, announced that they were ready to hold a clean-up day (subbotnik) to collect rubbish from the streets of Makhachkala.

Meanwhile, Lider has continued to claim the company is ready to resume waste collection as soon as the authorities agree on new tariffs.

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