NEWS ARCHIVE: FEBRUARY 2006

February 20, 2006 Website "Alexander Kozulin" Belovezhskaya Pushcha: problems and prospects

Alexander Kozulin
Alexander Kozulin, candidate-presidents of the Republic of Belarus and leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party, is for preservation of Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha is the largest remnant of ancient lowland primeval woods that have existed in the entire area of Europe since prehistoric times. Over centuries they have been felled, and the Belovezhsky region is virtually the only location where they remained relatively intact. Belovezhskaya Pushcha is the oldest European reserved area where traditions of nature protection of long standing have been saved. The value of Pushcha is confirmed by its most recognized titles. In 1992, UNESCO, according to its decision, made Belovezhskaya Pushcha a World Heritage Mankind Site. In 1993, the National Park was given the status of a Biosphere Reserve and, in 1997, the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" was awarded a Council of European Diploma for achievements in the field of protection of reserved nature .

A unique relic wood, which average age makes over hundred years while its separate patches are 250 - 350 years old, is the most value of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. More than a thousand giant trees are registered: 400 - 600 years old oak trees, 250 - 350 years old ash and pine trees, 200 - 250 years old spruce trees are all growing there. Pushcha surpasses all other areas of Europe in number of species of plants and animals. 958 species of vascular, seed and spore plants, 260 species of mosses and bryophytes, more than 290 lichen species and more than 3,000 species of mushrooms grow there. The Fauna List of Belovezhskaya Pushcha contains 59 species of mammals, 227 bird species, 7 reptile species, 11 amphibian species, 24 fish species and more than 11,000 invertebrate species, among which more than 9,500 insects. Pushcha hosts the largest world population of bison (300 specimens) and over 200 rare and vanishing species listed in the Red Data Book of Belarus.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha is a unique historical and tourist centre. Through the overall history of Pushcha, it was under the patronage of Lithuanian Princes, Polish Kings, Russian Tsars and Soviet General Secretaries. In 1991, the well known "Belovezhskoe Accords" concerning disaffiliation of independent republics from the Soviet Union and establishment of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was signed there. At present tourist infrastructure to acquaint the tourists with natural and cultural sights of this territory is under development.

A staff of the National Park and government of Belarus have made much to solve ecological, economic and social problems of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. However, today there is a threat for its future. After 1994, the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" was transferred under the jurisdiction of the Property Management Department of the President of the Republic of Belarus and a new policy targeted to make commerce and trade within its area began. Gradually, the National Park turned into a sort of an agricultural-trading-industrial complex, where nature protection, conservation of biological diversity, science, and ecological education were put on the back burner. Intensive economic activity has been developed in the unique natural area last years, which is incompatible to the honourable statuses and titles of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Methods of human activities (large-scale fellings, artificial plantations, making the natural area more "cultural" etc.), which are now in progress in the reserved Pushcha's forest, and non-professional and adventurous management in the frame of the rigid administrative-command system threaten to destroy the unique relic wood. A dramatic conflict between the local population and the Park's administration, the last is responsible for the true staff collapse, appeared. Oppressions and persecutions of the local population became a stable practice of the administration which currently manages the Park. Traditions of Belovezhskaya Pushcha are eradicated that breaks principles of sustainable development, which observance is obligatory for Biosphere Reserve (the detailed information about the situation in Belovezhskaya Pushcha are at the Website "Belovezhskaya Pushcha - 21st Century" bp21.org.by/).

Despite of numerous exposures and protests of a national and international public, the problems of Belovezhskaya Pushcha are out of decision-making results, while the authorities have taken the line "do not react" or to cover the guilty persons. The territory of the National Park has been turned to some kind of a secret-restriction zone being under patronage of the Property Management Department of the President. In 2004, the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Gramada) initiated the campaign to protect Belovezhskaya Pushcha and sent special New Year's cards with the image of stump and cut oak tree to the top-state officials, in which the senders appealed to them to save the reserved wood. In 2005, the Party, headed by Professor Alexander Kozulin, supported the information campaign devoted to the problems of tourism and ecological education in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

To preserve Belovezhskaya Pushcha and break through the situation, which is equal to deadlock, it is necessary further to carry out a number of measures targeted to take off secret activities of the administration of the National Park, ensure the observance of the law and the principle of social validity and reorganize the basic objectives of the Park. Now a team of the scientists who are supporters of Alexander Kozulin, candidate-president of the Republic of Belarus, has begun development of a concept of preservation and augmentation of all components of Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a national legacy and World Heritage Site.

The press-service of the Brest Regional Branch of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Gramada)
The text is a copy from the Website "Belarusian Partisan"
February 14, 2006 "Respublika" (The Republic) newspaper, No 28 Four kilometers to a small village.

Town of Kamenetz. According to an order of power engineering service of the district a design documentation to build a four kilometers' electricity line to the small village of Glubokiy Ugol (Deep Corner) located in Belovezhskaya Pushcha is ready. Pensioners Mariya Panko and Lubov Kuzavko who did not wish to leave Pushcha live in their houses since the Second World War's times. Nearly eight years ago local authorities have allocated money to install solar batteries which decorate roofs of two log izbas (huts) in the Deep Corner till now. Voluminous accumulators capable to accumulate solar energy from roof installations are under grandmothers' kitchen tables. This energy can be used when there is no a heavenly body (star). But the pensioners are poorly aware of how to operate this technology that causes burning an electrical bulb only, as a rule, when the sun shines. That was only time to watch TV and turn an electric iron on.

Fedor MUHA
February 12, 2006 Website News Service Website about oak trees in the Bialowieza Forest

There is a Website "Oak trees of Bialowieza Forest" (Puszczanskie deby) in the cyberspace at the address http://www.deby.bialowieza.pl/ in Polish.

Tomasz Niechoda is the website's author from Poland. He, in general, is a great fan of the Bialowieza Forest and, in particular, of its oak trees. Tomasz Niechoda spent for 20 years to explore them. He is also interested in oak trees growing on the Belarusian side of Bialowieza Forest (Belovezhskaya Pushcha) and would like to make pages devoted to the Belarusian giants. His purpose is to create a catalogue of all oak trees of Bialowieza Forest with circumference above 400 centimeters (4 meters). The author will be grateful for any information concerning old-age oak trees of Bialowieza Forest / Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

The website has information of various kinds about oak trees of Bialowieza Forest like their size, age, form, crone, location etc. There are also numerous photos which demonstrate examples of huge oak trees in Bialowieza Forest.

Tomasz Niechoda and his Dutch friend have plans to create a Website where Internet users from all over Europe could vote for the most beautiful oak of Europe. To do it, it should be picked out some 10-20 most impressive oaks in Europe, for which people would vote. there are also a lot of big and beautiful oaks in Belarus which could take a worthy place on the future website. Tomasz Niechoda is also interested in big pine, lime and spruce trees. Please, all those who is able to help with providing information on this topic can contact with Tomasz Niechoda via his website "Oak trees of Bialowieza Forest" www.deby.bialowieza.pl
February 08, 2006 "Web-Newspaper BelaPAN" Lukashenko has already granted a free pardon for Mrs. Zhuravkova in April

In April 2005 the President of Belarus granted a free pardon to former Manager of the Property Management Department of the President of Belarus Galina Zhuravkova, condemned to prison under the Part 4 of the Criminal Code's Article 210 (embezzlement through abuse of office duty made by the organized group or in the especially large scale) on February 8, 2005. Chairman of the Supreme Court of Belarus Valentin Sukalo officially informed about this for the first time at a press conference in Minsk on February 8, 2006.

"This is the exclusive right of the head of the state and he has used this right. This case has no any infringement of law", V. Sukalo said. "This decision was under consideration of the Commission on Pardon where I also took part. All procedures were observed".

Sergei PULSHA

A note of "BP - 21"

Let's remind that all reserves and national parks in Belarus are under subordination of the Property Management Department of the President of the republic of Belarus. After Galina Zhuravkova was appointed Manager of the Property Management Department of the President, the staff collapse in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and oppression of the local population unprecedented before, as well as serious infringements of nature protection legislation and destruction of protected relic wood of Belovezhskaya Pushcha have begun . All of these was done and proceeds to be done in Belovezhskaya Pushcha due to hands of the people whom G. Zhuravkova personally appointed to the managing posts in Belovezhskaya Pushcha and who are not dismissed from these posts till now, after the expiration of two years.

The Initiative group "Belovezhskaya Pushcha - 21th Century"