An Earth paradise

Victor KUKLOV, "Narodnaya Gazeta" (The People’s Newspaper) Newspaper, No 109-110, May 19, 2006

The workers of the State Reserve
"Belovezhskaya Pushcha" in time
of ringing wild boars, 1950-s

Especially protected natural territories - reserves, national parks and protected areas with the regime of some restrictions are of big role to preserve biological and landscape diversity and to study processes in wild nature. Each of them has the own history which is short or long, sometimes being closely bound with political metamorphoses. With this respect the joint Belarusian and Russian historical and documentary exhibition "Wildness protection in Russia and the Republic of Belarus: the late XIX – early XXI centuries" are of particular interest. It was open in Moscow, in the Exhibition hall of the Federal Archives of Russia that is in the street Large Pirogovskaya 17. The Federal Archive Agency of Russia and the Committee on Archives and Office-work at the Ministerial Council of the Republic of Belarus are among its organizers.

This exhibition is a product of joint efforts of Russian and Belarusian archives, scientific, cultural and public organizations. The Federal Service on Supervision of Nature Use of Russia and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection of the Republic of Belarus actively took part in creation of the exposition.

A team of huntsmen of the Imperial hunting in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. 1897

Belarusian and Russian keepers of archives are closely connected with cooperation and the present action is not the first joint project, director of the National Archive of Belarus Vyacheslav Selemenev emphasized during the opening ceremony of the exhibition. – However, this exposition has a number of distinctive features. The archival bodies of two countries presented documents about coming into being and development of wildness protection for the public viewing for the first time. Besides, the circle of the participants of the exhibition is extraordinary wide. As to the only Belarusian side, the representatives of twenty archival bodies from different areas and cities of our country, and the Chamber of National Assembly, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection and the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" presented their materials for the exposition.

In all over thirty various archival, museum and nature protection organizations and establishments from two countries take part in the exhibition, the head of the Federal Archival Service of Russia Vladimir Kozlov informed. He was certain that the exposition will promote development of the Belarusian and Russian cooperation both in the archival field and nature protection.

Ringing birds in the
Kandalashsky State Reserve.
Murmansk region. 1968

The basic task of this exhibition is to help a modern man to understand and overestimate much in the history of mutual relation between human and nature, Vladimir Kozlov said. The Reserves are natural refuges of unique ecological information and powerful stabilizers of natural balance which now becomes more and more fragile. Modern natural heritage cannot be presented without Baikal Lake and Sakhalin Peninsula, without oldest Belovezhskaya Pushcha, without fantastic Saiany taiga and originality of Belarusian Polessie, without unique Ilmenskie mountains and mysterious glacial boulders of Belarus. It's not casual that protected areas are often called "an Earth paradise". The bright and magic world of living nature is full of wisdom and harmony, simplicity and naturalness. This depends on each of us whether our children will enjoy charm of its primeval beauty.

The exposition allows to acquaint the wide public with unique archival documents and museum exhibits which reflect basic landmarks of development of wildness protection in Russia and Belarus and the history of nature protection.

The exhibition evidently tells about origin of wildness protection in the Russian Empire and creation of first Reserves. In particular, photos which show the Tsar Nickolai II made during his stay in Belovezhskaya Pushcha and documents of the pre-revolutionary period on measures to protect fauna within its territory are submitted. The fact that the first state reserve was founded 90 years ago in a very difficult for Russia period of the First World War is indicative..

Documents testify that the Soviet scientific public had much to be overcome for maintenance of nature protection and preservation of virgin landscapes after the revolution in 1920-1930-s. The Reserves suffered much within the Second World War. One more perceptible impact towards the wildness protection network of the USSR was put by short-sighted politics already in peace time, in 1951.

The final section of the exhibition is devoted to development of wildness protection in Russia and Belarus at the present stage. Both normative acts of the Republic of Belarus about protection of environment and our Red Data Book are also submitted.

Wildness protection is like archival business, Vladimir Kozlov underlined. Reserves save natural monuments while archives keep documentary ones. Both are responsible to the history. I hope that this exposition will promote increase of a level of ecological culture and more careful attitude to environment around us.

The exhibition "Wildness protection in Russia and the Republic of Belarus: the late XIX – early XXI centuries" will be demonstrated in Moscow till June 4, then it is planned to present it in Belarus, in the Berezinski State Biosphere Reserve.