Wind of rubbish

How the reform of waste collection has changed the Moscow region

Reading time 6 minutes

The reform of rubbish collection was launched on the 1st of January 2019 as a part of “The Comprehensive System Of The Household Waste Treatment” project. This project in its turn is one of ten parts of Russia-wide project “The Ecology”. It was stated in 2018 and going to continue till 2024.

Parts of national project «The Ecology»
Parts of national project «The Ecology»

Moscow and other 10 regions excluded themselves from the program for a while. They will join it in 2022. The experience of the Moscow region on the contrary has become a role model.

What the government did?

The Moscow region government organized separate collection of household garbage. Bins of different colour appeared in cities. Blue one is destined for recyclable litter such as paper, plastic, glass, and metal. Grey bin — for non recyclable rubbish. Yellow ones that can be found in shopping malls and other public places are intended to contain dangerous waste like batteries, chargers and home appliances. Such garbage is transported to Chelyabinsk to the conversion.

Sorted safe rubbish should be sent to the local waste recycling plants. There are five such places now. As the Chairman Of The Government Of The Moscow Region Yevgeny Khromushin said, till 2030 only 5% of rubbish will be buried. Now 28 of 39 wastelands are closed, rest of them will follow as soon as 7 recycling plants will have been constructed. Moreover, 4 incineration plants are to appear till 2022. It is supposed that in the process of burning electricity will be produced.

Grey bins are removed regularly, while blue ones — after having been completely filled
Grey bins are removed regularly, while blue ones — after having been completely filled

In some cities the government with the support of rubbish utilising companies have launched social projects. They believe that it motivates dwellers to hand over waste for recycling. Every handed over 7 kilograms of paper, 10 kilograms of glass or 3 kilograms of polyethylene give Electrostal citizens discounts to the partner organizations of the project “Waste to Wealth”.

What dwellers noticed?

New line has recently appeared in utility bills. It is a tax for garbage removal. Such service used to be included into apartment service tax. The Moscow region has not switched to per capita calculation of tax, therefore residents have to pay it depended on the living space. As a result, a single pensioner in a three-room apartment «trash» more than a family in a single-room one.

New incineration plant is to be built next to the largest not only in the Moscow region but also in Europe landfill “Timokhovo”. The first stage of construction is degassing of the dump. Dwellers of Timokhovo, Elektrougli, Elektrostal, and Noginsk monitor the process and regularly complain about the smell of landfill gases within 10 kilometres. The situation is aggravated by the Elektrostal landfill six kilometers from Timokhovo. Landfills poison both air and water, so the residents of nearby settlements have to buy expensive and powerful filters, while to Elektrostal water comes from the Vladimir region.

Safety area around the dump is from 500 to 1000 metres.
Safety area around the dump is from 500 to 1000 metres

“It turns out that 1.5 million tons of waste will be stored in Timokhovo per year and 700 thousand tons will be burned. In other words, more than 2 million tons of rubbish will be put just in one point every year! We will be completely deprived of water, air…”, — said Veronika Kuzmina, representative of the active group of residents “Stop plant and landfill Timokhovo”.

What else?

The Moscow region produces about 5.3 million tons of garbage annually. Landfills accept up to 4.6 million tons, conversing complexes — up to 1.1 million. In addition, Moscow dwellers send up to 6.6 million tons of waste beyond the Moscow ring road annually. Due to the lag of the Moscow “garbage reform” from the Moscow region, the capital’s garbage will be “raked” by the rest of Russia, primarily the Moscow region. Half of the conversing and incineration complexes capacity is designed for Moscow.

At the same time the Moscow region government is going to change waste generation standards. They consider the standards to be lower than they should be what means that the dwellers of the region produce more litter. In this case they would pay for garbage removal more. However, where this waste is to be sent legally?

Unlike the government, residents do not think that the taxes are low. The percentage of their collection in any region does not reach 100%. As a result, regional operators that are responsible for removing garbage to legal landfills and conversing complexes are on the verge of bankruptcy. The resignation of the head of the “Russian environmental operator” also indicates the unstable situation of the “garbage reform”.

Off the hook

How to safeguard personal data from those who are willing to steal it

Reading time 6 minutes

The 28th of January is the international day of personal data protection since 2006. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has established the date to encourage people to increase their attention to the information they poste on the Internet. From this article, you will know what rules you should follow in order not to become an easy target for scammers.

Surf the net via VPN

Use VPN to provide encrypted Internet traffic and network anonymity. The data that pass through the VPN is secure because the technology creates a protective layer between the device and the Internet. Data interception is unlikely.

To use VPN, just download the application and log in. Choosing a service, remember that it should not store data or transfer it to anyone. It is proved that some free providers collect user information or do not encrypt traffic. Other services earn money on a subscription, not on data. Tor browser is an alternative to VPN. It preserves user’s anonymity and protects the Internet connection from surveillance.

Choose passwords properly

Rules for appropriate creating a password
Rules for appropriate creating a password

The main rule is one account — one password that is long and difficult. The more various symbols are used, the more effort hacker have to make to get the access to the account. Password manager is a handy tool that help not to forget all usernames and passwords. The program generates unique successions which are stored in an encrypted database for all usernames. To enter it, the master password is needed. It is the only succession to be remembered. By the way, some managers support two-factor authentication what makes them more secure.

Set up two-factor authentication

Try to apply it everywhere to protect data additionally. In this case to enter the account, the system requests two different types of data. Username and password is the first type, special code is the second. This code can be entered only by the mobile phone. It comes via SMS or email, sometimes biometric data or a USB key are used, though it occures less commonly. Moreover, a special authenticator application may be the second stage of protection. The app generates codes for entering accounts. This method is more reliable than SMS messages, because they are easy to intercept.

After having enabled two-step authentication in the account, choose which type of data you will enter in the second stage. Then set up backup ways to log in to your account
After having enabled two-step authentication in the account, choose which type of data you will enter in the second stage. Then set up backup ways to log in to your account

Encrypt!

Communicate via messengers that support end-to-end encryption instead of calling or sending SMS. Otherwise, correspondence and conversations will be stored on the servers of operators in the clear.

Enable the encryption of the file system. Then no one but you will get access to the decrypted correspondence, even if they get hold of a phone or laptop. The encryption is usually enabled on mobile devices by default while instructions for Windows or Mac computers are available on the Internet.

Disable displaying messages in notifications on the locked screen. If a hacker sees a one-time password from the Bank, even encryption will not help. For the same reason, put a PIN code on your SIM card: after stealing the phone and moving the card to his own, the attacker will still not get to your funds.

In 2019, hacker attacks on Sberbank began to occur 15-20% more often, and on January 2, 2020, the Bank was subjected to the most powerful attack in its history
In 2019, hacker attacks on Sberbank began to occur 15-20% more often, and on January 2, 2020, the Bank was subjected to the most powerful attack in its history

Encrypt the email: PGP technology will help to do this. The message is encrypted before sending and the interceptor will not be able to read it.

Use the HTTPS Protocol. Unlike HTTP, it encrypts the data that you put on the site, what means that they will not be able to intercept it.

Maintain the information hygiene

  • use licensed software
  • install updates
  • try to avoid public wi-fi networks
  • use anti-virus software
  • learn to make sure that no one is listening to you

Share the security rules with interlocutors whom you exchange data with, and then your correspondence will be protected at both ends.

Borderless education

How Russian students take part in international mobility

Reading time 5 minutes

According to RBC data, in 2015 more than 50 thousand Russians studied abroad. This is about 1.5% of all international students. Statistics have shown that students prefer to travel to the United States and European countries although China is becoming more and more popular.

The cost of education in Europe universities according to the data of state agencies
The cost of education in Europe universities according to the data of state agencies

Any student can build an independent educational trajectory of education abroad or participate in international academic mobility programs with the help of home-university. RNU HSE is among those universities that offer such exchange programs. It has more than 74 arrangements with institutes in 27 countries.

HSE stusents on the international mobility program
HSE stusents on the international mobility program

HSE advises to divide the participation into the international academic mobility program into several stages:

  1. Make sure that you meet all the criteria that apply to exchange candidates.
  2. Calculate your budget: you will not have to pay for the education but both visa and transport, insurance and accommodation, food and unexpected expenses are covered by the student. In case of difficulties with calculations, you can use the site.
  3. Submit an online application form to participate in the competition: for autumn mobility it is held in February-April and for spring one in August-October.
  4. Check your email address to find out the selection results. They are announced one month after the end of the application process.
  5. If the application is approved, get ready to go: check the list of things and study the recommendations for traveling abroad on the website of the Russian foreign Ministry.

To make sure that the student is ready to study, the host country may ask to confirm the level of English fluency. The tip: programs that require international certificates have lower competition. Therefore, if you confirm your knowledge of the language with an international exam certificate in advance, it will significantly increase your chances of learning abroad. To do this, you should pass IELTS or TOEFL but not lower than the level B2 according to the CEFR classification.

The stages of fluency in foreign languages according to classifications of CEFR and British Council
The stages of fluency in foreign languages according to classifications of CEFR and British Council

According to the experience of students who have studied abroad, you should learn ahead as much as possible about the country you are going to and study the course program. Also, you should know in advance how you will be evaluated and whether you will be able to recalculate the received grades on the return. The clearer and more extensive your understanding of life in the host country, the less likely you are to suffer from culture shock or homesickness. To do this, you can monitor the media platforms of the host country, correspond with locals or analyze the experience of your predecessors. No one can guarantee that you will be 100% comfortable in your new place but careful preparation will help make the experience more enjoyable.

A stepping stone for young professionals

Registration for “I am a professional” olympiad has opened

Reading time 5 minutes

The registration for the third season of Russian-wide olympiad for students “I am a professional” has begun in early October. Application form for choosing the subject and uploading the certificate from the University is available for filling out until November 18.

The competitions will be held in seven areas of knowledge, therefore both students of technical programs and those who study in the Humanities and natural Sciences will be able to choose tasks to their liking. The program for the contestants will be compiled by specialists from leading universities and enterprises of Russia. The competition is open for bachelors, masters and specialist students. Participants do not have to pay for the Olympiad.

More than 98000 of students decided to patticipate in the olypmiad this year to the 10th of October
More than 98000 of students decided to patticipate in the olypmiad this year to the 10th of October

The olympiad has two stages. From November 22 to December 8 students need to complete the tasks of the qualifying stage which is held online. Those who show the best results go to the final face-to-face stage. It is held at several venues across the country from late January to early March. The finalists will be able to choose the most convenient city.

Winter schools are planned between the two stages. They consist of practice-oriented educational forums based on major universities of the country. Meanwhile, contestants who have already passed qualifying stage of the Olympiad also have to pass additional tests.

Winter school «Software and Radio Engineering» in Sochi
Winter school “Software and Radio Engineering” in Sochi

To prepare for the competition, participants can solve demo-versions of qualifying stage tasks and watch online courses available on the site. Besides giving additional information, online courses are handy because certificates of completion allow to participate in the final stage, bypassing the selection process.

The results of the Olympiad are to be summed up in March or April, after the organizing Committee have determined the winners. They will receive cash payments, invitations to internships, and privileges for entering universities as awards. The amount of payments will depend on the participant’s status.

Awarding of medalists, winners and prize-winners last year took place in Moscow. Approximately 3500 people received prizes
Awarding of medalists, winners and prize-winners took place in Moscow last year. Approximately 3500 people received prizes

All winners will be awarded with diplomas and included into the national database “I am a professional”. This is a student registry that is open for recruiters and human resources specialists from leading firms. The organizers will help to make a portfolio and give suggestions for improving work skills to all who will be included in the database. Educational privileges depend on the University where the student is getting education. They should be checked on the website.

The “I am a professional” olympiad has become one of the main projects of the presidential platform “Russia is the country of opportunities”. This year it is held for the third time. The competition is designed to find the most talented students and give them both additional space for career and professional growth with the development in the scientific field.