Ruu Village’s Fight Against a Slate Mine

Who collaborated? ●

Ruu Village in Jõelähtme parish, Harjumaa country has 81 residents who collaborated with the local government in order to stand against building of a slate mine.

What took place? ●

LLC Väo Paas’s plans to develop a mine in Jõelähtme in agreement with the government, became public in 2010. Building the mine would have required displacement of many local people as well as threaten the habitat of protected plants. For this reason the locals and the local government initiated a mutually supportive collaboration.

Their activities included direct activities against the mine (letters, court proceedings etc.), but this in turn also triggered other collaborations. For example the first Summer Solstice fire was organized, orienteering competition was held and an association created: NGO Ruu Village Upkeep Association. The village elder elections gained more attention and therefore had higher participation. The collaboration with the municipal council included debates and legal and moral support from the council during the court proceedings. It is especially remarkable how money for the court was gathered: the local residents organized pancake sales during public events, whereby everything (from the dishes to the products) was provided by the locals.

What was the result? ●

The result was victory in The Supreme Court and an active village association. A process of creating a protected area is under way.

MTÜ Ruuküla


Jury’s comment:

Going to court usually has a negative undertone and it is easy to be against something, but in this case the local association was capable of going all the way to the end for their rights. All that despite the length, cost and debilitating nature of the process. It is remarkable, that a village gathers its forces and finds funds to solve a legal matter and is able to also incorporate the local government. In the case of Ruu village mobilizing against a shared problem helped to create a functioning community. This is an award for brave citizenship.

Aljona Galazan: The jury also considered creating a new valuable asset noteworthy – a landscape protection are that is valuable for the future of the whole Estonian nation. We hope that this example also encourages others to notice the values of their living environment and stand for them together.