NEWS ARCHIVE: March 2005

March 29, 2005 "Respublika" (The Republic) Newspaper, No 56 The Belarusian holydays for children from Voronezh

A train, consisted of twelve carriages and arrived to the Brest railway station on Saturday, has brought more than 600 children. The schedule was to acquaint with the Brest fortress, Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Archeological Museum "Berestie" and other historical and cultural sights. Long time before the arrival of a special train, the auto inspection's cars and fourteen comfortable buses have been placed at the railway station area. The same number of guides was instructed on the schedule of the work day.

The children from boarding schools of the Voronezh area, winners of every possible competitions and quizzes devoted to themes of the past war and the unity of the Slavic peoples, young activists of patriot movement were passengers of the train. All of them were divided to four groups, so they could visit the most interesting places of Brest and Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Then they left Brest to come in Minsk for the same evening. In the capital, the guys visited the Museum of the Great Domestic Patriotic War (1941 - 1945), the Memorial Complex "Hatyn", the Glory Kurgan and took excursion in the city of Minsk.

Fedor MUHA
March 24, 2005 "Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi" (The Komsomol Truth in Belarus) Newspaper Bison from Minsk longs for the bride

But the Minsk zoo does not have money to buy her.

Two years ago the Minsk zoo officially asked the administration of Belovezhskaya Pushcha to present a pair of bison selected from three hundred animals living there and got to be agreed. A male was brought in October, 2003, while problems occurred concerning a female. She is not delivered to the metropolitan zoo yet.

- At the beginning we were explained in Belovezhskaya Pushcha that it is difficult to catch a female and asked to wait. But many months had passed while nothing was been heard about a bison-female, the director of the Minsk zoo Yuri Ryabov said. We often questioned and got the answer literally a week ago which simply shocked us - pay 6 millions 800 thousand Belarusian Roubles (over 3,000 $) and get a female, otherwise the agreement is rejected.

The management of the Minsk zoo does not know what to do because such the sum of money is absent. The bison-male is longing for a female. "The Spring and the conjugal period for bison are coming therefore our foster-animal begins to long for. He is a herd animal and he must to have a partner in the nature. We worry about the good mental health of the animal", workers of the zoo said. Now the Minsk zoo urgently looks for the sponsors to bay a bride for the bison-male.

It's not big money for a solid firm while they can rescue the animal, the director Yuri Ryabov explained. From our side we will be very thankful. We will hang up a shit of thanks at a cage. Everyone will know who has not only money but also the soul and who rescued a bison from loneliness! When bison-children will be born, we will call them in honour of the sponsor!

Natalia ARTEMCHIK
March 24, 2005 "Minski Kuryer" (The Minsk Courier) Newspaper, No 577 Parks will be friends

The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" gets contacts going to the French National park "Fontenblo".

The International Nature Protection Organization "Man and Biosphere" (MAB) assists to establish contacts. Its experts recently observed sights of Belovezhskaya Pushcha rich by flora and fauna. The history of the French and Belarusian parks is similar in the general. Although Fontenblo obtained a status of National Park for a not long time, however its area was used to be a liked place of rest of the French kings and others celebrities for many years. Belovezhskaya Pushcha was also very popular by Russian kings.

One of these days, in the Polish town of Bialowieza, the management of the Belarusian Park met the students and teachers from the nature protection faculties of the Parisian University who have a practical training course in the Polish part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The French scientists and future natural historians had intention to visit our Park in the near future and to keep up regular scientific contacts with its employees.

Ivan KUKSA
March 24, 2005 "Minski Kuryer" (The Minsk Courier) Newspaper, No 577 Move bison to the Pripyat river's area

The Pripyatski National Park will become a new home for sixteen bison from Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

Already thirteen animals have been moved to the Park while more three bison will be delivered there in the coming days. A herd basically consists of young animals - twelve females and four males. In opinion of scientists, this is a necessary condition for reproduction. Except for bison, thirty deers from Belovezhskaya Pushcha will be moved to the Pripyatski National Park because their number is rather up of an optimal level in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. These animals were also caught and are currently under the veterinary quarantine in the enclosures.

Bison totals over three hundred specimens in Belovezhskaya Pushcha now while deers are of two thousand. The National Park periodically moves its inhabitants to other reserves. For example, bison were moved from here to the Berezinski Reserve and to the reserve in the Oryol region of Russian Federation in some previous years.

Ivan KUKSA
March 18, 2005 Website News Service Belarusian Bialowieza Forest in danger!

The Ukrainian Coalition "For Wild Nature" and the International Socio-Ecological Union (Russia) have announced the starting the international campaign on protection of the Belarusian part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The case of this was the numerous facts of infringements of legislation and wildlife science in Belovezhskaya Pushcha recently became known for a public as well as the continuation of intensive economic activity incompatible to the tasks of nature protection and preservation of the unique primeval wood.

According to press-announcements and bulletins of these ecological organizations, the public cannot monitor the economic activities in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The wildlife of the National Park is threatened with massive felling. Man-made forest plantations leave no trace of the forest wilderness, which irreversibly changes the look of the primeval forest. The area of the wild protected forest constantly decreases. The National Park is transformed into one of the forms of commercial timber enterprises where the methods of forestry, typical for timber enterprises, replace ecological techniques of conservation of biological diversity. The administration of the National Park turns a deaf ear to suggestions of ecologists on conservation, while the ecological and wildlife since is ignored.

Commercial-driven activities in the forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha often infringe national and international law, and conventions ratified by Belarus. Many violations are covered up by a higher authority. Watchdogs on conservation that arrive to Belovezhskaya Pushcha look all like 'orchestrated'. Therefore the government is not getting by true information and facts that create the simulation of 'wellbeing' in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Workers of the Park are sacked if they do not agree with the policy provided or if they protest against it. The National Park itself has become a place for recreation and entertainment of authorities' officials and their kin. As if the wool over people's eyes, the residence of Santa Claus was built in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. It is the residence rather than the primeval forest and unique wildlife that is advertised for tourists today.

Alongside this, there is also pressure on reporters, scientists and nature protection activists who try to be independent in their coverage of the situation in the National Park. State-run newspapers tend to present only one side of the story, which focuses on ideologically-weighed (dis)information on real and surreal achievements of the administration of the Park, while the publishing true-fact articles are impossible. The present state of affairs discredits the conservation work in Belarus and puts in doubt the fairness of the policy for conservation pursued by the government of the Republic of Belarus.

The concerns are that the ancient and unique forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha is gradually transformed into one of thousands of commonly found in Europe commercial forestries. The transformation is irreversible. Felled areas and man-made forest plantations will not be able to substitute the wilderness, uniqueness and originality of the protected wood. The Belovezhskaya Pushcha Forest becomes an ordinary 'forest' area. But the latest figures show that the volume of felling in 2005 is going to be two times higher.... If the felling of the primeval forest and other danger activities carries on, we may lose this beloved wilderness area called Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

Over the course of several years, Belarusian public organizations and activists have been trying to convince the authorities to stop the destruction and environmental degradation of the Europe's last primeval forest. The Park's administration reacted to this by virtually making its activity secret. Public activists and independent ecologists can hardly access the area of the National Park. The Ministry of Natural Resources and the President's Property Management Department shut their eyes on it and do not react positively to allow the public control.

The Belarusians succeeded in winning one campaign last year, a campaign to enlarge the strictly reserved zone and the World Heritage Site. Experts of the UNESCO helped them with it. Also, two years ago, thanks to an international 'fax' campaign organized by our coalition and supported by international ecologists, there could stop massive and illegal felling of living protected forest.

This is why the initiators of the international campaign on protection of Belovezhskaya Pushcha again ask to help the Belarusians save the forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha from barbaric exploitation by sending letters and faxes to the President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Grigorievich Lukashenko . In this regard, the initiators of the international campaign ask the Belarusian President:

1. To stop the management in the National Park which leads to destruction of the unique reserved forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, first of all, to stop planned massive wood harvesting and creation of artificial, man-made plantations which destroy the primary structure of the primeval forest. To adapt ecological-friendly methods and techniques which conserve biological diversity, instead of methods applied in commercial timber enterprises.

2. To take actions to institute criminal proceedings against those who are responsible for violations of law on ecology.

3. To conduct all commercial activities in the area of the National Park, the forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, in conformity with the Belarusian law on nature and modern ecological and conservation principles.

4. To make public all activity of the administration of the National Park 'Belovezhskaya Pushcha', allow independent experts to inspect the area of the National Park and create for the National Park a watchdog that will consist of independent experts and public activists.

More about the campaign to protect the forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha can find out at the Web site of the International Socio-Ecological Union at http://www.seu.ru/projects/eng/belovezha/. Detailed information on the situation in the National Park 'Belovezhskaya Pushcha' can be found at the Web site 'Belovezhskaya Pushcha - 21st Century' at http://bp21.org.by/en/ff/. Full text of the appeal to the President of the Republic of Belarus is available at the address http://www.seu.ru/projects/eng/belovezha/ or http://bp21.org.by/en/docs/interc05.html.
March 17, 2005 "Narodnaya Volya" (The People's Will) Newspaper, No 50 Sixteen bisons were delivered from Belovezhskaya Pushcha to the Pripyatski National Park

Sixteen bisons were transported from the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" to the Pripyatski National Park. Thirteen animals have been already delivered to the new permanent address while three animals will be transported in the coming days.

The engineer-huntsman Alexander Kisleyko said to BelaPAN News Agency that a herd of bison-emigrants is grouped to make animals breeding-able in the new place. "Except for bison, thirty red deers, already caught and placed in veterinary quarantine in a special enclosure, will be delivered to the Pripyatski National Park", A. Kisleyko said. He noted that there were many cases to deliver the inhabitants of Belovezhskaya Pushcha to other reserves for the last years. For example, a group of bison has been moved from Pushcha to the Berezinsky Reserve and the reserve in the Oryol area of Russian Federation not long ago.

For today more than 300 bisons and about two thousand deers are totaled in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

Larisa SHIGANOVA
March 17, 2005 "Minskiy kurier" (The Minsk Courier) Newspaper, No 571 Belovezhskaya Pushcha is a world legacy

A German TV has begun to shoot a documentary film about the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".

The first TV channel from Germany initiated this project. The riches of Belovezhskaya Pushcha's fauna and flora will be in the frame of an educational film. The German party offered to make shooting in the natural forest conditions. All parts of the film are coordinated by the scientific department of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". According to the film script, the reserve's experts will be involved in the film making.

The animal world including bison became the main focus in the film parts already made by the film crew. Unique frames of a pack of wolves hunted a deer is also made. A term to realize the project is designed for two years.

Romuald KOBYAK
March 01, 2005 "Respublika" (The Republic) Newspaper, No 38 Russian tsar in the Polish interior

Alexander Smirnov and Romuald Kunat, General Consuls of Russia and Poland, recently left their residences in Brest to visit together the Polish side of the Bialowieza Forest. A ceremony of opening of the "Imperial restaurant" built in the old railway station of the village of Bialowieza was the occasion.

The restaurant's owners, businessmen Michael Drynkovski and Michael Olshewski from Warsaw, consider there will be shortly no getting rid of many visitors from all over the world. Not only a virgin nature of the Bialowieza Forest and true Russian vodka but also revived historical realities, connected with the stay of Russian emperors in this area, will provide pilgrimage on the regularity base.

The Bialowieza Forest (Belovezhskaya Pushcha) always served the reigning persons as a favorite place for hunting entertainments. The tsar Alexander II was the first who started hunting here for members of the Russian ruling dynasty in 1860. Then Alexander III, together with his retinue and invited visitors, came here. This was time the imperial family obtained the property of the large Pushcha's area in exchange for lands belonging to the imperial house in Oryol and Simbirsk provinces (Russia). A palace complex was built in the village of Bialowieza in August 1894. The two-storeyed palace, saved only in photos, amazed with the external magnificence. Its internal appointment like decoration by valuable wood, expensive furniture and pictures on walls, as contemporaries witnessed, corresponded to an imperial style. Peripheral well-built buildings appeared around the Bialowieza palace too. New owners got well-operated game keeping service going in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, introduced new animals, and rigidly punished local hunters for arbitrariness. At the same time, however, they were the most insatiable poachers. Memorable pictures, made after imperial huntings of those times, show carcasses of bison, roe deer and wild boars put together long lines.

The First World War started the end of the Russian monarchy, while the Second World War destroyed traces of its greatness in the Bialowieza Forest. In 1944, the imperial palace complex strongly suffered from a fire. After the war, when the part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha where the village of Bialowieza is located, according to international agreements, became the territory of Poland, the neglected palace has been blown up. Only a wooden building of the railway station constructed in 1903 remained to remind the grandiose imperial summer residence once facing in the forest village. On the eve of the century's age, having remained out of service, it appeared on the verge of disappearance. However the station was rescued with ecotourism. Reach people from Warsaw guessed about dividends that can be taken from this building if to reasonably invest rather small capitals. The fact is not only a virgin nature of Pushcha but also a rural life style of its inhabitants has been kept here. Just to spend the night in a log hut, rich tourists from West Europe pay 10 - 15 dollars. The price grows when an opportunity to eat healthy rural food, to master mow a grass or to chop fire wood is offered.

The Romanov's imperial family will help considerably develop the local ecotourism. Renovating the railway station, the new owners fill it by household goods of a life of the past epoch. Something kept by old local residents can be yet found (some imperial coins were revealed in case of the station's repair), but the "Imperial restaurant" is basically filled with things got from the Polish antique dealers: for example, a big portrait of Nikolai II decorated the "banquet hall" of the restaurant, or an antique piano the view of which reminded the General Consul of Russia Alexander Smirnov of his artist abilities.

By the way, the diplomats advised Michael Drynkovski by visiting does not be limited the pure restaurant duties and to expand the service in the future. International cultural actions, ethnic seminars, musical evenings and simply meetings of fans of history and olden times can be held here. To bring it in life, the visitors from Brest promised their assistance to make contacts with appropriate international centers. The experience of the Polish neighbours is rather valuable, especially for the Brest region. Many tourist routes pass here through the memorable sites connected with ambiguously treated historical events. Therefore, for example, guides "hesitate" to show the Suvorov's museum in Kobrin for Poles because his bogatyrs put down the national-liberation movement under Tadeush Kostyushko's leadership. Political figures of the Russian monarches are even more inconvenient for historical interiors of Poland. Nevertheless, as it is seen, here are able to find the objective and reasonable approach and to take a considerable benefit from this recognizing the fact that the general history being far from the ideal cannot be re-write anew like the words cannot be removed from a song.

Fedor MUHA
March 01, 2005 "Sovetskaya Byelorussia" (The Soviet Byelorussia) Newspaper, No 39 Hi, spring!

The Shrove-tide week started in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" on Sunday. The winter is over but the Pushcha's forest met visitors with snow and hard frost.

All actions were taken place in the Grandfather Frost's residence. Visitors numbered over two thousands. The main heroes of the holiday came from all regions of Belarus - not only pupils obtaining 'excellent' marks but also children written the letters to the Grandfather Frost. All guest-children received gift sweets. Many of them presented their exhibitions of hand-made articles, dances and songs. Such the holiday was carried out for the first time in the Grandfather Frost's residence, but further it will be organized every year at the end of winter.

Valentina KOZLOVICH