NEWS ARCHIVE: August 2003
August 29, 2003
«Sovetskaya Belorussiya» (The Soviet Byelorussia) Newspaper», #160 (21826)
Enlargement of the territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha
On its request the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» has been given adjoining it 11.600 hectares of land, including 2.306 hectares of reclaimed land, for its permanent use and additional 2 thousand hectares of land to use temporarily (the term is 10 years). What is it for?
Grigori Kravchuk, forestry pathologist engineer in charge of the forest sanitary situation, explains: — The new land — is the only remedy today for dying Pushcha. At least, our specialists have not thought of any other solution to the problem and there have been no suggestions from outside experts — only criticism of our large-scale felling in the National Park. In the mean time, we cut down only those trees which are dead. But there are many of them. We have literally lost 30 per cent of spruce wood over the past years. There has been no such drastic impact on Pushcha as we are seeing now. It is a catastrophe.
The catastrophe, as we see it, has tow causes: the 1960s reclamation, which has been affecting Pushcha more severely with every year, and the ban on hunting, which, also, has an increasingly negative impact on Pushcha. At the beginning of spring almost all water is drained away through soil-reclamation canals into the sea. Trees are consequently dying of drought, while vermin gets an ideal condition for infesting them. The need then is to fight the side effect of the reclamation. But how can anyone irrigate the land in preserved Pushcha? Our solution is to create water reservoirs in the areas adjoining the National Park, if one cannot do it inside Pushcha. By doing it, we suggest keeping underground water at the level of the 1960s at least for a few months every year, if not at all permanently.
This measure will also solve the second problem — too much of now abounding animals. We will create round Pushcha numerous game forest grounds and let them work the way Shereshevskoye Game Forest Ground does, where both professional, for selective shooting, and amateur hunting are allowed. These places will attract animals (hunters will be able to shoot off such animals as excessively large in numbers wild boars, roe deer and red deer, but not bison, naturally) and we will be able to control their population.
August 28, 2003
«Byelorusskaya Lesnaya Gazeta» (The Byelorussian Forest Newspaper) Newspaper, #33 (438)
Vladimir Pavlovich ROMANOVSKY
The Forest Management Committee under the Belarusian Council of Ministers and the Republican Council of «Belarusian Forestry Specialists' Association» grieve over the death (August 25, 2003) of Romanovsky Vladimir Pavlovich, Honored forestry specialist of the BSSR and the Republic of Poland, Honored Trudovoe Krasnoe Znamia Order bearer, Professor of Agricultural Science, former director of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha« and first deputy Belarusian Forestry Minister.
Blessed memory of Romanovsky Vladimir Pavlovich will always stay in our hearts.
We express our deep and sincere condolences to the relatives of Romanovsky Vladimir Pavlovich in view of their grief and bereavement.
The Forest Management Committee under the Belarusian Council of Ministers
The Republican Council of «Belarusian Forestry Specialists' Association»
August 26, 2003
The Belovezhskaya Pushcha
Aleksander Zakharovich Strelkov
Aleksander Zakharovich Strelkov, one of the oldest scientists in Belovezhskaya Pushcha and one who laid the basis of the science in the National Park, unexpectedly died on August 10, 2003. 26 years of his 40-year-long work he dedicated to science and research. His interests were various and many, including work at the program on the study of biological production and circulation of organic substance in the forests of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, his studies of wood species renewal, ash and black alder wood, as well as of the silver fir. In his work he was particularly focused on giant trees' inventory and study of old-age forests. He finished his career as a research assistant. Gifted artistically, Aleksander Zakharovich was a good painter and a master of word. He had a lot of popular science publications on Pushcha and also wrote a brochure about its forests. He published dozens of research studies in many scientific periodicals. Aleksander Zakharovich Strelkov was very valuable to science in Belovezhskaya Pushcha both as a specialist and a person. The blessed memory of Aleksander Zakharovich will ever stay in hearts and minds of people in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.
Former work colleagues
the Belovezhskaya Pushcha
August 22, 2003
BelaPAN News Agency
Sniper rifle from «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» director's house found
A sniper rifle model SVD, which was stolen from the house of Nikolai Bambiza, director of the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha», is now found.
As BelaPAN reported, on July 25, 2003 the rifle with nine live cartridges, as well as some other belongings were stolen from director's house in the village Podbelski-Ogorodniki in the Kamenetz area.
Immediately after detection, a search group of the Kamenetz district policemen and the CID investigators under the Brest Regional Executive Committee was set up. The stolen rifle and nine live cartridges were found in one of the garages at Papanina St. in downtown Brest, the CID spokesperson told BelaPAN. The thief was a 26-year-old tailor with the well-known Brest firm «Dioma». He is arrested.
Other belongings, which were stolen from Nikolai Bambiza's house, are still missing.
«The sniper rifle was the property of the National Park »Belovezhskaya Pushcha". Nikolai Bambiza was issued the rifle there and it was certified in the special register. That is why he cannot be accused of illegal weapon possession«, Viacheslav Rusakevich, Kamenetz CID official, told BelaPAN.
Still, the entry in the register is not the right to gun ownership, another CID representative said confidentially. According to him, Mr. Bambiza has permission for owning another weapon and it means that he had to get permission for the sniper rifle.
Scientist Heorhi Kazulka found not guilty for Pushcha photographs
Brest, August 22. The Brest Regional Court found that Heorhi Kazulka, former deputy director of the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha», Philosophy Doctor of Biology, did not infringe the law photographing bark beetle infested areas in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The Regional Court left unchanged the decision by the Kamenetz district court which found the actions of the administrative committee under the Kamenetz Excecutive Body towards Heorhi Kazulka incompetent and illegal.
The scientist, who has been recently publicly accusing the National Park administration of commercial felling, was detained by the administration in Pushcha on May 11, 2003. A report was drawn up following it stating that he infringed the law governing natural resources and environment protection. The reason for the detention and report was that he, H.Kazulka «was photographing bark beetle infested areas and collecting material for publication without the park administration permission». The officials seized the scientist's camera and spoiled the film by exposing it to light. Later the administrative committee under the Kamenetz Excecutive Body decided to impose a fine on H.Kazulka. The scientist did not agree with it and appealed to the court against the decision.
The Kamenetz district court found H.Kazulka's arguments cogent and disaffirmed the fine. Then the National Park administration lodged a claim against that decision to the Brest Regional Court. The main argument was that the 1992 National Park Regulation says: «no person is allowed in the National Park without the park administration permission.»
The Regional Court found the argument insufficient to reverse the first instance court decision, as there were offences committed by the administrative committee and the park administration regarding paper work. Moreover, the Regional Court found the documents did not justify the accusations against Heorhi Kazulka. As for the National Park Regulation referred to by the park administration, it still needs to undergo through the registration procedure in accordance with the Belarusian law, and, in that circumstance, it has no legal force.
August 20, 2003
«Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi» (The Komsomol Truth in Belarus) Newspaper, #151
Bear roamed in Pruzhany district
It is wonder how this «clumsy» one wandered round here, on this land. Scientists can only guess how. The last time a bear was seen here was at least a hundred years ago. Aleksei Plavski, Mokrovsk forestry hunterman, spotted huge footsteps of the "forest monster« on a barley field. In this area adjoining Belovezhskaya Pushcha the last bear was shot off back in 1878 during tsar's hunt.
August 20, 2003
Website News Service
Regional Court reverses decision by Pushcha's administration
As BelaPAN reported, on June 25, 2003 the Kamenetz district court decided against the fine imposed on Heorhi Kazulka, former National Park deputy director, Philosophy Doctor of Biology, by the administrative committee under the Kamenetz Excecutive Body (KEB), finding it unjustified. H.Kazulka was detained by the administration of the park in Pushcha on May 11. A report was drawn up following it stating that he infringed the law governing natural resources and environment protection. The infringement, the report said, was that the scientist «was photographing bark beetle infested areas and collecting material for publication without the park administration permission». The officials seized the scientist's camera and spoiled the film by exposing it to light. On these grounds the administrative committee under the KEB imposed a fine on H.Kazulka. The scientist did not agree with it and appealed to the court against the decision.
The court under Galina Prigozhko's chairmanship found H.Kazulka's arguments cogent and disaffirmed the fine. Then the National Park administration lodged a claim against that decision to the Brest Regional Court. Its main argument was that the 1992 National Park Regulation says: «no person is allowed in the National Park without the park administration permission.» The Regional Court studied the argument and found it insufficient to reverse the first instance court decision, as there were offences committed both by the administrative committee and the park administration regarding paper work and, also, the documents did not justify the accusations against Heorhi Kazulka. Moreover, the National Park Regulation referred to by the park administration, still needs to undergo through the registration procedure in accordance with the Belarusian law, and, thus, has no legal force.
In Belarus only! Belarusian part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha turns from the National Park to a criminal zone!?
Go for details to the article
August 18, 2003
BelaPAN News Agency
Three gasoline saws missing from Pushcha temporary worker
Three gasoline saws model «STIHL — 360», property of the National Park Belovezhskaya Pushcha«, were stolen last weekend from a hotel room in the village Kamenyuki. The hotel room was taken up by a Luninetz area dweller who temporarily worked in Pushcha as a feller. The saws were stolen as the door into the room was unlocked, the worker said. The Kamenetz district Office of Public Prosecutor initiated a criminal case in this connection.
That has been the second theft in the National Park over the last month to become public. On July 25, 2003 National Park director Nikolai Bambiza had his house in the village Podbelski-Ogorodniki broken into. A rifle model SVD, a set of live cartridges and mobile phones were officially reported to be missing then. The thieves broke into the house through the window.
Since the park administration has begun to employ temporary workers, the criminal situation in Kamenyuki, the central manor of the National Park, has deteriorated, Kamenetz CID spokesperson told BelaPAN. This year there has been a knife-fight of employed workers here, and there have been two thefts for the last month.
Local people, interviewed by a BelaPAN correspondent, think the gasoline saw theft is symbolic, as, in their view, the felling in Pushcha is carried out illegally.
August 14, 2003
«Vecherniy Minsk» (The Evening Minsk) Newspaper
Grand stone will become known
In the near future, Poland will invite members of the ProGEO Association (under the auspices of UNESCO) for another international conference. The Association studies unique nature areas to include them on the World Heritage list. At present the only Belarus' World Heritage Site is the Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Belarus' geologists suggest to international experts committee's consideration a dozen more places. For example, it may be the biggest ice-aged boulder in Belarus (in the village Gorki in the Shumilinsk area of the Bitebsk region). It is called the Great stone or, by people, — the Devil's stone. Local people say that, passing it from one village to other, one will most likely turn the wrong way and get lost. The stone is impressive. It is 11 metres long, 5 metres in breadth and 3 metres high.
August 07, 2003
Ecologist V.Dranchuk: «The silence on Pushcha problems worries me»
Valery Dranchuk, famous Belarusian ecologist, head of the public initiative «Terra-Convention», is concerned that the results of Belovezhskaya Pushcha« inspection by the government committee passed over in silence. Interviewed by BelaPAN, he reminded that on July 29 — 30 in response to a letter by Kamenyuki villagers (Kamenetz district of the Brest region) Belovezhskaya Pushcha was inspected by the government committee led by Maria Khudaya, Chamber of Representatives deputy. Although not part of the committee, Valery Dranchuk, with M.Khudaya's consent, was at the scene as a public observer.
According to V.Dranchuk, the problem of Belovezhskaya Pushcha «gradually fell, as it was demanded by the public, into, the only possible solution today, focus of politics.» When the committee of 11 government officials, scientists and specialists had inspected the protected forest, the public expected adequate conclusions as to the results of it«, the ecologist said. He pointed up other acute social issues in the protected territory, which M.Khudaya talked about when meeting with local people. He said »she could see with her own eyes the facts of the arbitrary and rough treatment of indigenous people by the National Park administration.«
According to the ecologist, there has been no outspoken reaction by the inspection committee for four days on its return to Minsk. «That is the case when the reaction on what is going on in Pushcha should be outspoken, as the committee members were shocked by what they saw and heard during their visit to the protected forest. But there has been no press-conference yet, no statements for the press, no report of their work at all.» V.Dranchuk thinks the Property Management Department of the President is going to think of one more doctrine to justify ecological vandalism and arbitrariness committed in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.« The ecologist does not rule out the possibility that M.Khudaya »is going day after day to more extenuate the facts, choose words and phrases suitable for the government and not the public, which is trying to make the acute problems of Pushcha widely known and hopes for deputies' support.«
Still, the ecologist noted that Khudaya «is perfectly aware of the problems thanks to the committee members and the »Terra-Convention expert materials. Most importantly, she could see and hear first hand about it from people indigenous to Pushcha. Restraining herself, M.Khudaya was trying to support people and promised all the issues would be discussed by the committee of the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly or at the Parliament hearings. Nonetheless, the fact that there has been no due reaction to the meeting with those people, makes one doubt that the political solution to the problems of the protected forest will be open, clear and public.«
The ecologist believes that «if M.Khudaya does not fall under pressure by the Property Management Department of the President, the inspection results should lead to corrections in the law »On specially protected natural territories and adoption of the National Park Regulation, which would correspond to the park status of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.«
August 01, 2003
Website News Service
Weapon search in primeval forest
An unusual theft took place in Pushcha on July 25. A house of Nikolai Nikolaevich Bambiza, National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» director, was reported to be broken into, with a sniper rifle model SVD, a set of live cartridges, mobile phones, clothes and some other things missing as a result. In addition to all this, Mr. Bambiza had also a considerable sum of money, jewelry and valuables, in particular, natural fur coats, property of Nina Matveevna Bogush, Bambiza's cohabite, who dealt with the sale of goods confiscated at the border. For some aforethought reasons, the goods were not declared as lost.
The preliminary investigation shows that thieves broke into the house, which is on Podbelski-Ogorodniki village's edge, through the window. The house used to be a National Park guesthouse. It used to be very popular with tourists, who sought recreation amongst beautiful nature of Pushcha, and the profits from it used to be also big. Beside the house there is a pond and a sauna, and its yard has everything for comfortable recreation. When Nikolai Bambiza took over as Pushcha's director, unlike his predecessors who used to live at a hotel in the village Kamenyuki, where the central manor of the National Park is situated, he settled in this house and commuted to there by an off-road car, as it is 10 kilometres from the park administration.
The theft is being investigated by a 20-strong group of the Ministry of Internal Affairs experts. Specialists of republican and regional level are called to cooperate, and that indicates the seriousness of the incident. The preliminary investigation has not come up with any findings yet. At present, the police are doing a round of all apartment houses questioning the dwellers to get information which might help find the thieves.
The concern around the case was caused by the missing weapon. The sniper rifle model SVD with optical sighting device has the aimed shooting range of up to 1.5 kilometres. With a direct hit it can pierce body armour. This weapon can be used for many purposes, even for terrorist attacks. National Park director Nikolai Bambiza had no permission for carrying this weapon and, to all appearances, he took it from the National Park arsenal and kept it in his house, carried it with him in his car during drives in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Local people knew all that. To keep such a weapon at home, one has to have a monitoring alarm system set up in the room with special weapons' safe, of course, besides a special Ministry of Internal Affairs permission in the first place.
People who live in Belovezhskaya Pushcha are not sure whether a criminal case will be initiated in this regard. They also cannot say whether the theft was a vengeance or whether it had some other purpose.