Liquidation of the office building and eviction of the scientific department from the laboratories (2003-2004)

Events, facts, documents and evidences: At the end of 2003 the administration of the National Park urgently started to reconstruct the office building. The office was moved and a hotel has been making in the former office (see news "No more science, but more hotels", November, 2003).

The administration of the National Park and the scientific department used to be housed in the office building. It had been constructed in the middle of the 1970's. Originally it was designed just to serve scientific purposes. It would function as a base for scientific research institute in the field of biogeocenology (forest ecology). The two-storey building of the institute was located in the middle of a beautiful pristine forest. However, the institute was not opened. Top officials of the communist party suddenly «came to their senses». They stated that numerous researchers would spoil the pleasure of their recreational activities. The researchers would be a hinder to their huntings, which they practiced secretly in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. At that time Belovezhskaya Pushcha was protected as a State Protected Game Ground. Therefore the previous policy of scientific development in the Pushcha was reconsidered. The new building was allocated to the administration of the State Protected Game Ground. Numerous departments of this organisation, including the scientific department and its laboratories, were seated in the building.

Major repairs and reconstruction were made in 1999 and 2000. A third storey was added to the building. In this storey research department laboratories would be located, as the department needed more space for its activities. An ecological and educational center, including a conference hall, were set up in the enlarged building as well.

These pictures show the office building with the scientific laboratory at the start of the phase of reconstruction.

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(June 6, 2004)

All of a sudden the present administration of the National Park, headed by director Nickolai Bambiza, changed the plans of its predecessors. The focus of attention in the Park is now given to earning hard currency. This is why it was decided to renovate the office building and the scientific laboratory and open a hotel for wealthy citizens in the building. All services of the Park and the scientific department were moved from the convenient office to rooms in the timber plant and in the office of the garage controller in the industrial zone. As to the scientific department some rooms were allocated in motor-car workshops, which were completely maladjusted for research. It was necessary to rebuild a former toilet and a wash-basin for researchers to use their new "office".

Apart from the scientific department the library with many old, rare and unique books, and an archive with all documentation on Belovezhskaya Pushcha was moved out. The collection was moved to a room above a boiler-house on the same industrial zone. The room is not adapted to store the books. Maintenance of the scientific library above a boiler-house meant a permanent threat of annihilation of the invaluable paper funds by fire. Indeed, the boiler-house where the library is located burned down in the beginning of 2004 - read Heorhi Kazulka "In Belovezhskaya Pushcha science is on fire").

These pictures show the reconstruction of the building.

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(June 6, 2004)

The building has been renovated completely inside. The walls between adjacent rooms have been broken away in order to enlarge the rooms. Windows have been blocked up with bricks.

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(June 6, 2004)

This is what remained of the decorative Thuya trees and of flower beds with Ostrich-ferns, which grew in front of the office building.

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(June 6, 2004)

Consequently it was decided to construct a padding pool near the future hotel. Therefore a patch of forest of old age, which grew near the administrative office, was felled on November 21 and 22, 2003. The felled surface is approximately 40 metres long by 30 metres broad (see news "Pool instead of 220-year-old Pine tree", December, 2003).

These pictures demonstrate the view of the felled site on which a swimming pool will be built.

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(June 6, 2004)

Tens of beautiful trees were growing on this site. They included Pine, Spruce, Oak, Birch and Aspen trees. The Pines and Spruces were aged over hundred years. The oldest Pine tree was about 220 years old. The Oaks were younger.

In the middle of the 1970's, when the office building was constructed, builders saved as many trees as possible. They would not touch Pines of 100 to 150 years old, even if they grew at just one meter from the wall of a building. Today the practice of building is different. The saw of a woodcutter penetrated to the core of the stem of a Pine aged 220 years as well as of trees located close to the felled area.

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(June 6, 2004)

This picture shows the stump of a cut Pine tree located further from the building area.

A year has passed. The reconstruction of the office building was stopped last summer. The scientific department has been promised that they would be constructed a new building. However, this project has not been started as yet. Nobody even remembers this project anymore. And in the meantime the scientific employees of the National Park are forced to work in garages within the industrial zone. This situation will not change on short term.

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(October 10, 2004)

This picture demonstrates the situation of the "research institute" of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, surrounded by tractors and combines harvesters, in 2004.

Further: Christmas trees' market