NEWS ARCHIVE: AUGUST 2005

August 20, 2005 "Minski Kuryer" (The Minsk Courier) Newspaper, No 703 A young firemen's competition

A sport competition between young firemen, with invitation of the schoolboys from Kamenetz and Pruzhany districts of the Brest region (Belarus), was organized in Hajnowka province (Poland).

Such competitions were realized in Poland within the framework of the European Union international program "Protect Bialowieza Forest" for the second time. The participants were the young guys from frontier areas where the reserved wood is growing. The town Dubiczi Cerkownye located in the outskirts of the Polish part of Bialowieza Forest became a place to meet. A fife-day camp was placed there. Twenty three young people who are the members of young firemen's clubs from two districts formed the Byelorussian team. Apart from scheduled competitions, when the schoolboys demonstrated skills to extinguish fires as a theory and practice, a large-scale sport, cultural and educational program was held. Kayak, pedalo and bicycle competitions, as well as a walking tour along a narrow-gauge railway in the Bialowieza Forest were fascinating. In the course of competitions, the Poles and Belarusians had fortune by turns that allowed jury to make verdict "The guys are equal-power and friendship won". Due to this every participant left the camp with a memorable gift.

Olga KOBYAK
August 19, 2005 "Narodnaya Volya" (The People's Will) Newspaper, No 160 .Then we will float on the August channel

Till the end of this year, Belarus and Poland will prepare documents to inscribe the August channel, unique trans-boundary cultural monument, on the List of UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites, deputy head of the Department on Protection of Historical and Cultural Heritage and Restoration of the Ministry of Culture of Belarus Oksana Smotrenko told to BelaPAN News Agency. She said that the UNESCO Commission will consider the submitted documents in 2006.

For the present four Belarusian sites namely Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the Mir castle, Radzivily's residence in the town of Nesvizh and "Struve's Arc" are in the List of World Heritage Sites.

The August channel which depth averages 1.8 meters connects the Neman river with the Bebzha river that belongs to the Vistula basin. With the total channel length of 102 km, 80 km of this channel belong to the territory of the Suvalkovskoye province of Poland and only 22 km are within the territory of the Grodno region. The Belarusian channel includes a part of the river Chernaya Gancha, the length of 9 kilometers between villages of Lesnaya and Sonichi, and the entire river bed of the length of 6 kilometers which connects the Chernaya Gancha river with the Neman river near the village of Nemnovo. The August channel, constructed in 1824 to 1839, has 18 sluices including 4 ones on the Belarusian territory. Today this monument of hydraulic engineering architecture has lost its primary role to serve a transport way for cargo transportation from the basin of Vistula and Neman to the Baltic Sea.

The renewed August channel should come into operation as an object of annual national and international water tourism on July 1, 2006. It is expected to finish building the ferries, moorings, parking, toilets and kiosks up to this date. All construction elements like sluices, dams and buildings, where waterway inspectors were earlier placed, as well as landscape elements traditional for this district around the channel are planned to be used. In the area adjacent to the channel, renovation of ancient farm-houses and construction of an aqua park, alpine skiing and hotel-restaurant complexes are planned. Besides of this the procedure of simply crossing the tourists at the Belarusian and Polish border is stipulated to develop international tourism.

Marat GOREVOI
August 17, 2005 "Sovetskaya Byelorussia" (The Soviet Byelorussia) Newspaper, No 157 Unnecessary "green ring"

What do we have, except for Belovezhskaya Pushcha and Brest Fortress?

"For example, a visiting ancient Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, there are some tens in the Brest region. Palaces and ancient parks are possible to look. There are ecological tours. As to service level? Our service is convenient to you", I'd liked to get such the answer at least in one of the Brest travel agencies. But alas... Everyone offered to visit Belovezhskaya Pushcha and Brest Fortress. An advertisement related to "ecological tourism" seemed to be interesting. I thought it will be surprise but it appeared that there are no routes except for Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the White lake.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha, if even the main natural treasure of the Brest region, is not the only attractive site. Why do not show bogs "Dikoie" and "Zvanets", the largest in Europe plain ones? Why do not "discover" the Vygonoshchanskoye lake, the largest untouched forest-swamp-lake area on the major watershed of Europe? Is really a king-oak tree in Pozhezhinskoye forestry of the Malorita district or black birch groves in the Ivactsevichi district not attractive?

All ecological treasures of the Brest region can be combined to compile "a green ring" but no one is interesting in it yet. Five tourist agencies did not share my impulse to visit woods and lakes. The managers of the sixth bureau however agreed to talk.

"If you will gather a group, we will serve it with a guide and reserve a bus", a girl-operator said in such a form as if I asked her one thousand dollars of pocket-money.

"How much will it cost?"

"We will come to an agreement..."

"Where will we overnight since all this cannot be seen for day?..."

"Well....", silence appeared from that phone-side and... I was advised to overnight in a bus.

"Foreigners are interested very much to see our nature. They will travel after we will offer a good service", Alexander Ivachev, businessman from Brest who faced lots of troubles in the tourism industry, considers. "Its level is still acceptable in the regional centre whereas there is no service in the country. Accommodation for tourists is absent in villages. The same is as for district centers... How to explain to a foreigner that there is no hot water? Tourist agencies have no experts to work with foreigners. This is also important..."

Valentina KOZLOVICH
August 11, 2005 "Respublika" (The Republic) newspaper, No 149 Recollected together

Evicting inhabitants of forest villages in 1941, the regime of occupation has begun its activity after German-Fascist aggressor occupied Belovezhskaya Pushcha. But it has not staved off partisan movement expended on these lands. In revenge, the chastisers burned up Belarusian and Polish villages and mass killed civil people. As a tradition, the inhabitants of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and neighboring villages from both sides divided today by the state border are gathered on the first Sunday of August together to honour memory of the lost. The inhabitants of Pruzhany district and visitors from the Polish towns of Hajnowka and Bialowieza have laid wreaths on a brotherly grave where people from the same district were interred and held a funeral meeting. The Polish neighbours became possible to easy take part in the event in many respects due to the opened in Belovezhskaya Pushcha simplified border crossing "Pererov - Bialowieza".

Fedor FEDOROV
August 09, 2005 "Minski Kuryer" (The Minsk Courier) Newspaper, No 693 A problem's decision is hampered

Belarus is ready to take negotiations with Poland to open new four or fife border crossings.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Alexander Mihnevich has informed that "an opening four or fife border crossings, very important for the frontier population, is on the agenda in cooperation with Poland". Alexander Mihnevich has emphasized at a meeting with journalists "Belarus is ready to discuss it, however the Polish party keeps silence".br>
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs has reminded that it was possible to open border crossings "Rudavka - Lesnaya" at the August channel and "Pererov - Bialowieza" in Belovezhskaya Pushcha only under pressing from the Belarusian side. "The decision of these problems was permanently delayed", Alexander Mihnevich has noted.

Marta ASTREIKO
August 05, 2005 "Narodnaya Gazeta" (The People's Newspaper) Newspaper, No 175-176 Hospitality in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection will allocate 90 thousand dollars to develop rural tourism in the Belarusian part of Belovezhskaya Pushchawithin the framework of a project. According to Head of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry Alexander Rachevskiy, the Global Ecological Fund, with UN Office acting as a go-between, is a financial donor of the project.

While the project is implementing, over twenty families from villages in the vicinities of the National Park wishing to accommodate tourists in own farm-houses have been chosen. They had a training course on rural tourism and became familiar with practice of the Polish rural mini-hotels' owners.

Further, as an experiment, three families from the wishing to accommodate tourists will be chosen. They will be granted with finances to reconstruct houses and create modern household conditions for visitors, as well as advertise their farm-houses via Byelorussian and foreign travel agencies. It is supposed that these three rural hotels will invite the first tourists in the 2006 summer.

Alexander Rachevskiy has noted that rural tourism is a new and very perspective direction of the tourism industry. The rest in rural houses near woods, rivers or lakes promptly gains popularity among inhabitants of large and noisy cities of Europe. Therefore, having huge resources for the village tourism development, Belarus shortly can become one of the leaders in rendering this kind of tourist services.
August 05, 2005 "Byelorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta" (The Byelorussian business newspaper) Newspaper, No 1548 Visit of solidarity

Poland has passed a long way from the Belarusian situation's indifference to realizing the necessity of consolidated actions. There is no conflict between the Poles and Belarusians in Belarus . A conflict between opposition and authorities is present, Vice-Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland and candidate to the president's post from the influential party "Civil Platform" Donald Tusk has emphasized during a meeting with activists of the Union of Poles in Belarus (UPB) in Grodno city this week. Reaction of Polish politicians to the last events around the UPB is critical. In particular, Donald Tusk has declared that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland should immediately ask about emergence session of heads of EU diplomatic departments to develop joint actions against the Lukashenko's regime, since all the previous measures proved to be inefficient. According to D.Tusk, Poland has to achieve observance of human rights in Belarus, without a hysteria but firmly and consecutively.

The reprorter of "BDG" converses with Donald Tusk about purposes of the visit in Grodno city.

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- In your opinion how can Euro-Parliament help to Belarus, except for declarations and protests which we hear already during a long time?

- We have passed quite a long way - from the Belarusian situation's indifference to realizing the necessity of consolidated actions. Today European Union is at one with estimations that occurs in Belarus. Apart from solidarity and support more resolution is necessary. In Bialowieza we, together with the leaders of the Belarusian opposition, have signed a Bialowieza Declaration - an appeal to the European authorities. In particular, we are declaring that is necessary more seriously to do with regime's officials as the question is about their entrance interdiction in the EU territory, and also about blocking their bank accounts. It is necessary to set measures in relation to those in Belarus who infringe upon human rights but it is impossible at the same time to close the whole country. Europe also began to realize its large responsibility for infringements of human rights in some countries. The suspension of actions of various EU institutes in relation to Belarus is possible. Unfortunately, I'm not a Euro-Parliament Deputy and I can only try to render influence on making-decision of some questions.

The Belarusian opposition is at one with the Poles as to the situation around UPB. There is no conflict between the Poles and Belarusians in Belarus while there is a conflict between the regime's authorities mode and country's citizens. Belarusians also participated in an August 1 picket protested against usurpation of the Poles' House in Grodno city.

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Natalia MAKUSHINA
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(The news is set in the short-cut form, referred by "BP - 21 Century")
August 03, 2005 "Narodnaya Volya" (The People's Will) Newspaper, No 149 Three officials from the Property Management Department of the President were relieved of one's positions because of abuse which took place in the National Park "Braslav Lakes"

Alexander Lukashenko ordered to make answerable for some officials in connection with "none-taking timely measures to prevent offences and abuses from the part of some officials of the State Nature Protection Institution "National Park "Braslav Lakes" of the Property Management Department of the President of the Republic of Belarus".

The president's press-service informed that the country's head signed an appropriate order on July 28.

According to this document, head of the Control-Auditing Department of the Property Management Department of the President Oleg Kovalevskiy, head of the Department of Protected Natural Areas and Nature Use of the Property Management Department of the President Alexander Luchkov, and Deputy Manager of the President's Property Management Department Vasiliy Sudas were relieved of one's positions.

General Public Prosecutor Peter Miklashevich was charged, in accordance with established procedure, to relieve Public Prosecutor of the Braslav district P.Karnitzskiy of his positions. Some of the officials were warned about bad duty's execution. The President also reprimanded and reproved some of the officials.

According to information of the press-service, unsatisfactory execution of official duties by the above-mentioned officials caused very big losses for the country.

Irina LEVSHINA
Comment of "BP - 21"

It is known that the Berezinski Biosphere Reserve and all national parks in Belarus, including Belovezhskaya Pushcha, are subordinated to the Property Management Department of the President of the Republic of Belarus. Vasiliy Sudas and Alexander Luchkov, officials dismissed from the Property Management Department, were directly responsible for nature protection in national parks including Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

The Initiative group "Belovezhskaya Pushcha - 21st Century"
August 01, 2005 Website "TUT.BY" Number of tourists visited Belovezhskaya Pushcha increased over 40 percents this year

Almost thirty thousand tourists visited the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" for two summer months. This is two thousand more than for the similar period of the last year.

The Reserve's administration connects this to improvement of the Pushcha's tourism infrastructure. For instance three local hotels, the firsts in the Belarusian national parks' network, were granted three-star status in February this year. Restaurants, saunas, tennis courts and other facilities appeared here after the reconstruction in the last year. Now Belovezhskaya Pushcha services daily over 500 tourists from different regions of Belarus, as well as from the former USSR and other foreign countries. Famous people are also among them, for example chess ex-champion Boris Spasskiy visited the Park in July.

The number of tourists visited the National Park has grown over 40 percents this year - 95 thousand people visited Pushcha for the last seven months while there were only 67 thousands for the similar period of the last year.

The service work gives evidence that the visitors of Belovezhskaya Pushcha are interested first of all in the Belarusian Grandfather Frost's residence and the unique museum of nature.

BelaPAN Information Agency
Comment of the expert

More precise definition: The phrase "Restaurants, saunas, tennis courts and other facilities appeared here after the reconstruction in the last year" is not valid. A restaurant (instead of restaurants), saunas, tennis courts and some other facilities did not appear in Belovezhskaya Pushcha after the reconstruction last year because they were built long time ago. To be exact, they were constructed in Belovezhskaya Pushcha tens years ago. Only the tennis court was built later - in the middle of 90-s when a meeting of the presidents A. Lukashenko and B. Elcin has been planned in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. These objects have only been repaired and reconstructed again last years.

The phrase "The service work gives evidence that the visitors of Belovezhskaya Pushcha are interested first of all in the Belarusian Grandfather Frost's residence and the unique museum of nature" needs more explanations since it can seem that visitors are not interested in the reserved wood and wild nature of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Firstly, many visitors choose first of all that which is advertised. Last years advertising the grandfather frost's residence eclipsed everything else therefore many visitors do not know and not reflect at all that a wood is not less interesting than the grandfather frost's estate. Secondly, a basic excursion route goes to the grandfather frost's residence. Thirdly, a nature protection literature propagandizing the wild reserved wood of Belovezhskaya Pushcha is almost absent here. Fourthly, there is not enough attention to protection of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha's wild nature and its related problems paying by guides during excursions. Thus tourists are limited to gain excursion services (the facts evince that the reserved primeval forest and wild nature's protection are far from dominated topic while guides provide excursions) and compelled to choose that which is offered or imposed them in the National Park.

Heorhi Kazulka,
Ph. Dr. of Biology, Belovezhskaya Pushcha,
Specially for the News section of the website