NEWS ARCHIVE: SEPTEMBER 2006

September 22, 2006 Website "Charter'97" Director of the National Park “Braslav Lakes” sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment

A former director of the National Park "Braslav Lakes" has been sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment, Interfax was told in the prosecutor’s office of Belarus. As said by a prosecutor’s office spokesperson, “a court of Vitebsk region has sentenced the former director of the national park "Braslav Lakes" to 10 years of imprisonment; a former head of the department of fauna, water reservoirs and hunting management to 6 years of imprisonment; a former bookkeeper to 4 years of imprisonment”.

The ruling by judges of the Vitebsk regional court was passed in the Braslav district court.

As Interfax informed earlier with reference to the prosecutor’s office of Belarus, in 2005 a criminal action was brought up against the former director of the National park “Braslav Lakes” and his employees. In the investigation carried out by the prosecutor’s office and Interior Ministry it has been found out that “gross violations of a hunt order, fishing and fish reproduction have been made. Hunt was organized year-round, not all visitors paid for services”.

As there was earlier informed with the reference to the presidential press-service, the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has sown that to relieve Vasiliy Sudas, deputy manager of the Property Management Department of the President, of his post. Oleg Kovalevskiy, head of the Control and Auditing Department, and Alexander Luchkov, head of the Department of Protected Natural Territories and Nature Use, also were relieved of their posts.

There was also informed from the press-service, that the head of the state has signed an order on "Making answer by some officials for inadequate execution of official duties which have come to non-setting of duly measures on suppression of offences and abusing by separate officials from the State Nature Protection Institution "National Park "Braslav Lakes", that has resulted in causing very serious damage to the state".

The General Public Prosecutor on behalf of the head of the state has relieved Peter Karnitskiy, public prosecutor of the Braslav district, of his post.
September 22, 2006 "Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi" (The Komsomol Truth in Belarus) Newspaper Mr. Shushkevich has arrived in Belovezhskaya Pushcha after fifteenth years

Coming back from the governmental dacha "Viskuli" he has met Leonid Kravchuk.

Stanislav Shushkevich has visited a place of USSR's death at the request of the Russian NTV Channel. In December, a film by TV-reporter Alexei Pobortsev "Union Indissoluble" devoted to 15 years since the Soviet empire's destruction will appear. According to a screen version the major active participants will tell about signing a historical contract, and they will make it directly on the place of the act.

Stanislav Shushkevich, former head of the Belarusian Parliament, has set out for the residence "Viskuli" already after Leonid Kravchuk, Ex-President of Ukraine, visited this place.

"I have met Leonid Makarovich Kravchuk on a Brest highway. We didn't see each another for one and half a year", Stanislav Stanislavovich Shushkevich told "The Komsomol Truth". "Mr. Kravchuk came back to Minsk. We moved to the side of the road and talked nearly fifteen minutes. However, we did not discuss the politics of our countries.

In "Viskuli" Mr. Shushkevich couldn't recognize that place which is in his memory due to the events happened fifteen years ago.

"It seems there is nothing of traces reminded of those events. The hall where the act of signing took place has acquired a modern view. The "licked smooth" surrounded area is also looks in another way."

Boris Eltsin should also be arriving in Pushcha.

"He promised but he has not arrived. If I got the situation clear, the Russian top did not allow him for this visit. However, we will maybe soon meet in Warsaw at an international conference.

Andrei OSMOLOVSKIY

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Our comment

We want to pay your special attention to the fact that Mr. Shushkevich couldn't recognize that place which is in his memory due to the events happened fifteen years ago, because everything was changed in "Viskuli" for the last fife or six years.

Let's add that this concerns of Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a whole, not only Viskuli, where many things had been changed for last fife or six years in such the way as one would not recognize them. The area of the administrative centre of the National Park has got sweeping changes. After reconstruction of hotels and a restaurant, both their interior and design were completely replaced (read more details in "Tourist complex and the destruction of ancient traditions of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, 2001 - 2003"). The scientific department and the management of the Park were thrown out from the owned building which is now under total reconstruction to make a modern-stylish hotel (read more details in "Liquidation of the office building and eviction of the scientific department from the laboratories (2003-2004)"). The staff's selection was changed – the strange workers, not the locals, are now given a priority to be employed in the Park (read more details in "The "Taliban" movement and oppression of local people"). Forest management, earlier characterized by careful and friendly attitude to the protected relic forest and its biodiversity, was changed to apply technologies which are common in ordinary timber enterprises (read more details in "Cutting down of living old-age Pines in protected compartments" - May - December 2002 and 2004, continuation", and also "Artificial planting at sites on which the "primeval" forest was cleared" - spring 2003 and 2004, continuation").

All of these testify that the present administration of the National Park, completely strange for this land, purposefully conducts the policy of destruction and annihilation of cultural heritage of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, eradicates cultural customs of this land and traditions to care for nature, and introduces alien elements of culture, architecture and management within already six years. The ultimate goal of this policy is obvious - to tear the local population of Belovezhskaya Pushcha away from its traditional historical nd cultural roots, to cut off and to suppress its will in order to make the population easy to be manipulating and managing. The country's politics, like above, purposefully proceeds to eradicate the national Belarusian language, literature and culture for the last ten years. The ultimate goal of eradication like this is to abolish the Belarusians as the united and original nation in the future. This is because a nation losing a national language and culture becomes weak and defenseless in the face of other, stronger cultures and simply disappears, being dissolved among the other nations or being suppressed by them. This politics is today led by those who are not the Belarusians (in true sense of this word) any more or never were the Belarusians, by those who hate the whole of Belarusian, not simply indifferent of it. The processes similarly to this are currently in progress in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. They can result in destruction of the reserved forest in the future, as no one will protect and defend it from aggressive, lack-cultural and semiliterate barbarians and thief in top-power. And those people, alien to this land and having nothing to do with protection of wild nature, who hate all of the local and traditional, not merely consider Belovezhskaya Pushcha the owned source of utilizing its natural resources which is covered by nature protection labels and statuses, rule these processes.

The note by the editor of the website "BP – 21 Century"
September 22, 2006 "Respublika" (The Republic) newspaper, No 174 A museum in a farm house

The town of Zelva. Sergei Mikolnovets, owner of a farm house of Staraya Les in the village of Voronichi, has opened a museum of insects and beekeeping. A grant gained after a victory in competition of mini-projects on the best farm house within the framework of the UN Program "Environmentally sustainable development of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha trans-boundary region" has helped him to reach this. By the way, more ten owners from Kamenetz and Pruzhany districts of Brest region, and Zelvensk and Svisloch districts of Grodno region have also gained the same financial donation at the rate of 1,000 to 2,000 US $ within the framework of this project.

Leontiy KUCHKO
September 22, 2006 Website News Service The Belovezhskaya Pushcha – 21 Century Project's Group to have nothing common with an congratulatory cards' action

On the eve of a Foresters' Day (17th September this year), information that "hundreds of cards were sent from the citizens of Belarus" with appeals to save Belovezhskaya Pushcha and that the Belovezhskaya Pushcha – 21 Century Project's Group is the organizer of this action has appeared on the website of the United Civic Party.

In this connection I, on behalf of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha – 21 Century Project's Group would like to note that the Project's Group has nothing common with this action. The members of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha – 21 Century Project's Group entirely support and welcome the given initiative and action which aim preservation of priceless primordial nature of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. However, neither me, nor my colleagues are aware of nothing about this action before this kind of information appeared on the UCP' website. We want to thank the initiators of the given action and we hope that through it the Belarusian society will once again recollect the tragedy which has run high in the unique reserved territory at the centre of Europe in the early XXI century.

Let me remind that the action like this was already conducted in late 2004 (http://bp21.org.by/en/news/1204.html). At that case the Belarusian Social Democratic Party "Narodnaya Gromada" of the Brest region was the official (and open, not being hidden behind anonymity) initiator of dispatching (but no making idea and no producing cards!) New Year's congratulatory cards, designed with an image of huge oak tree's cut, for the management of Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park.

It should like also to draw attention to a point, in my opinion, rather important for preservation of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The initiators of the public appeal writes "Attention: It is important to write the congratulation on your behalf, not being hidden. Your care of fate of Belovezhskaya Pushcha has nothing of crime." But at the same time THE INITIATORS OF THE ACTION APPARED ANONYMOUS. That means they are hidden, even from the colleagues who defend of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and reserved nature. Why? Do they really think that those people, who devoted so many years to struggle for Belovezhskaya Pushcha and have proved their adherence to a business of the right to protect Pushcha, suddenly will change their attitude and "will hand over" them to the director Bambiza? Or other reasons, connected to mentality of the Belarusians, their excessive timidity and a lack of ability to fight together for common interests (this was described in detail in the article "Green bazaar"), are at the back of this anonymity?

I personally know who of the Belarusian activists initiated this action and is hidden to be anonymous. In this connection I would like once again to call these people in public to reject any subjectivity and to be rallied around of the single idea and to develop an effective mechanism of cooperation, from which all of us and, first of all, Belovezhskaya Pushcha will win. For example, the fact of cutting down of oaks in the quarter 322 of the strictly reserved zone is completely new to me. This is obviously the crime. If the BP – 21 Century Project's Group could beforehand be aware of it, this fact could be described in detail in the website's section "Photo-fact" and could be open to the experts of Council of Europe on the eve of their visit to Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Otherwise it turns out that some one knows about the facts of very serious infringements but he hides them … from the colleagues which can use them for the sake of preservation of Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

Heorhi Kazulka
The coordinator of the Project "Belovezhskaya Pushcha – 21st Century"

Below is the card and the text of the covering letter distributed

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A Foresters' Day - congratulate of the "heroes" from Belovezhskaya Pushcha

The card Congratulation with the Foresters' Day – click to enlarge in the new window
On third Sunday (September 17, 2006) Belarus traditionally celebrates the Foresters' Day. This day we congratulate everyone who is connected with the work in wood. Overwhelming majority of these people are true patriots of the forest. They are proud of their achievements. However, what can the administration of national parks, in particular the administration of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", pride on? On cuttings down of forest stands of ancient age? On hunting management which leads to annihilation of the best animals? On reprisals against the people differently minded?

Under the leadership of the director Bambiza, Belovezhskaya Pushcha gradually turns to complete annihilation. In pursuit of money any opportunities are used to cut down and extract wood as maximum as possible. As a result, felled trees simply decay in the wood because a Park's timber processing plant cannot consume this volume. A new wood is planted in straight lines replacing the felled forest areas. These plantations will never become the true primeval forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

Congratulate Mister Bambiza upon the Foresters' Day. Ask him to stop cutting down of primeval woods, such as these oaks in the strictly reserved zone, territory inscribed on a UNESCO's List of World Heritage. Remind him that Belarus bears responsibility for preservation of this wood to all Europe.

ATTENTION: It is important to write the congratulation on your behalf, not being hidden. A poison-pen letter will not have so much force than a card with the sender's address. Your care of fate of Belovezhskaya Pushcha has nothing of crime.

If you want to learn more about the situation in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, visit http://bp21.org.by/

Names and addresses of the officials recommended to send the cards are the following…

PS. The record on the back side of the card "Selective cutting down of oaks in 2004
The World Heritage's Monument, the quarter 322 in the strictly reserved zone of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"
Photo by Vyadzmyak Belavezhski
September 22, 2006 Website "Saint Nickolai's Orthodox Parish in Bialowieza" A Foresters' Day to celebrate in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" in Kamenyuki

On September 17, 2006 the National park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", our neighbour from the Belarusian part the Bialowieza Forest, celebrated a Foresters' Day. This day is a holiday for all the staff of the Park (about 1400 employees) which is celebrated in the fellow and relative circle. The Park's management and sponsors awarded the exemplary workers. Results of the year's work were also sum up and new plans for the future were viewed. Participation of the invited persons also said about solemnity of the holiday to have a respect for daily work of the people connected with Pushcha. The representatives of the Belarusian authorities of various levels, the Ministry of Forestry, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, Frontier Service and scientific institutions took part in the celebration.

A Polish delegation also participated in the celebration. Jozef Popiel, Director of the Bialowieza National Park, Wlodzimierz Pietroczuk, Head of the town of Hajnowka, and Jaroslaw Sawicki, Forest Officer from BNP, were its members.

In the beginning of the celebration the owners and the invited visitors made speeches on the occasion of the holiday. The BNP's director wished to our neighbours success concerning nature protection and new achievements in trans-boundary cooperation between two parks. He gave over the director of NP "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" Nickolai N. Bambiza a picture with a Pushcha's landscape as a keepsake of this holiday.

After the ending of the official ceremony, a discussion has passed during which dancing ensembles performed folklore dances under accompaniment of county musicians. Nearly all of the Park's staff feasted and had a good time in open air of the perfect weather till the late evening on a Pushcha's glade, being pleased a solemn holiday. Among the acting actors, Vitaliy Aksenov, famous in Poland national bard who recently acted on the occasion of celebration of a Bison's Year in Bialowieza, was of the special attention.

Information source - www.bpn.com.pl
September 17, 2006 Website News Service The locals of Belovezhskaya Pushcha to fine for picking mushrooms

This year was extraordinary rich of edible boletus mushrooms in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The phenomenon such as this does not often happen. The places most harvesting regarding mushrooms were in woods of old age within the areas with a various protected status. One could pick entirely three large baskets of mighty "good-lookers" for some hours there. Nearly all of the local population, which is not too small in number in this area, therefore, began to pick mushrooms for lay in an own winter stock, the tradition which had generated for already many years back. At the same time, storage places where the locals could deliver harvested mushrooms were open in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

The harvest-carrying of mushrooms lasted without accidences. No one of the local inhabitants got into troubles. However, the controllers of entrance check-posts began to stop the bicycled locals two weeks ago and to ban their entrance to the protected territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, referring to some order of the administration of the National Park which interdicts picking mushrooms. At the same time, the Park's guard began to detain the people from local villages who already came back with picked mushrooms. Reports on infringement of protection's rules of the National Park were drawn up for some of them, to be fined then. For example, this kind of cases was observed in the village of Pashuki, although the Wilderness Protection Zone is far from this area. The local inhabitants have confirmed these facts, but they asked not to mention their names in official press.

On the eve of the Day of Forester which is celebrated 17th September of this year, new information - the locals again pick mushrooms without accidences and no one of them get into troubles - was received from the inhabitants of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The local inhabitants connect metamorphoses of the administration's behaviour with two possible reasons. According to unofficial information, the first was that the people related to some top-government officials were present in Belovezhskaya Pushcha at that time. The second was noncompliance of mushrooms' amount harvested by the foresters with the scheduled plan of their extraction.

In connection with the stated above, we asked Grigory Fedorov, independent expert-lawyer, to comment how well this inconsistent situation in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" corresponds to legislation.

"At first let me put some general remarks. Any oral orders of the management of the National Park are obligatory only for those persons who are the Park's staff. The oral orders like this have no legal force for the locals and other citizens. The management, using such cases, probably wants to create a certain similarity of a zone with extreme rules within the territory of the National Park. This is absolutely illegal.

It is necessary to distinguish the picking and the harvesting mushrooms and berries. The picking is conducted in order of personal utilizing while the harvesting aims sales or industrial processing. Both the picking and harvesting mushrooms are the kinds of non-forest use and are under regulation, in particular, of a Wood Code, Law "On Especially Protected Natural Areas" and Regulation "On the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".

The Wood Code, according to Clause 63, sets that non-forest use aiming trade purposes, that means harvesting mushrooms and berries, can be forbidden within the territory of the National Park. Hence, picking mushrooms for "self-consuming" can not be forbidden.

Let's now address to the mentioned Regulation on the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". It is important to be aware of what kind of the Park's zone mushrooms are picked in. If it regards the Wildness Protection Zone, Item 5.1 of the Regulation forbids not only picking mushrooms but even just being there without sanction of the administration.

According to Item 5.2 of the Regulation, in the Regulated Nature Use Zone picking mushrooms and berries for needs of the local population is carried out in specially stipulated places in accordance with the projects of forest management and land-tenure regulation. Draw attention that the places of picking mushrooms should be specified in the mentioned projects and the administration is not authorized to permit or forbid picking mushrooms by the local inhabitants in each concrete case (for example, it is not allowed in 2006 but it is allowed in 2007, or it is not allowed to Mr Ivanov whereas it is allowed to Mt Petrov - all of these is illegal). It means that if the citizens were detained in this zone they can be fined only beforehand having proved that they picked mushrooms out of the specially stipulated sites.

In the Regulated Recreational Use Zone, according to Item 5.3, picking mushrooms and berries is carried out in specially stipulated places as agreed with the administration in accordance with legislation. It concerns of picking mushrooms and berries, first of all, by the people who have a rest and lawfully take place within the territory of the National Park. Following legal logic, this zone is of lesser strictness of protection. That is why the locals, if the visiting this zone, should have the right to pick mushrooms and berries, at least to the same extant as it's doing in the Regulated Nature Use Zone. Apart from this, the Wood Code by Clause 42 permits picking mushrooms and berries free of charge for "self-consuming", if the other things are not stipulated by any acts. It means that the administration of the Park is obliged to initiate development of a legal act on regulation picking mushrooms and berries. There is no the act like this today and this is very serious infringement to demand observance of the rules which did not come into legal force, or more precisely, simply does not exist in the nature of things. The requirement to get any sanctions for picking mushrooms and berries should be qualified just as the stated above.

In the Economic Activity Zone, according to Item 5.4 of the Regulation, natural resources are used for needs of the local population. It means that the locals can freely pick mushrooms for "self-consuming" in this zone, without any coordination with the administration.

At last, in the Buffer Zone of the National Park, according to Item 7 of the Regulation, the use of forest resources, that means picking mushrooms too, is carried out in accordance with legislation as agreed with the institution. It also concerns of the use of forest resources not so much by local inhabitants as by other persons. The legislation says nothing about what is the order to coordinate this issue. However, that is not the basis to deprive the citizens of their lawful rights (to pick mushrooms and berries)", Grigory Fedorov has concluded.
September 16, 2006 "Naviny Kamyanechchyny" (The Kamenetz’s News) Newspaper, No 80 A Foresters' Day tomorrow

Grigoriy V. Smalyuk is an employee of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" for thirty years. He became fond of the wood from a child because he has grown nearby Pushcha, in the village of Melniki of the Rechitsa municipality's area. After he is a Belarusian Technological Institute graduate of the speciality of forestry he worked a forest engineer in the Reserve, then an assistant of the forestry officer and last ten years a forestry officer of the Pashuki forestry area.

The staff of the forestry area consist now of 42 employees. They are very busy of work and the forestry officer daily set a circle of works in the forest.

THE PICTURE shows how the forestry officer Grigoriy Smalyuk (he is the second from the left) sets the task to the foresters Vladimir Romanyuk, Victor Adamchuk, Victor Garanin and Sergei Shkurda in the beginning of cutting to maintain the forest. Among them Victor Adamchuk (worked for 24 years) and Sergei Shkurda (worked for 13 years) are the most devoted to working in the forest. The others will fast acquire their experience.
September 15, 2006 Website "United Civic Party" The "wood" officials to congratulate with successful cutting down of Belovezhskaya Pushcha

Hundreds of cards with the brief text "Let save Belovezhskaya Pushcha for our children!", "Woodcutter, do not fell Pushcha!" etc. timed to the coming Day of "cut glass" (this word in Russian is associated with vodka usually drunk with the help of this kind of 200-gram glass in the past times, translator's note), Day of Foresters (17th September), were sent to some officials from the citizens of Belarus.

The cards with appeals to save Belovezhskaya Pushcha - national treasure of our country – have been addressed to Alexander Kulichkov, Manager of the Property Management Department of the President, Nickolai Bambiza, Director General of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", and to the Minister of Forestry, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Protection and other officials from the country's citizens who care the nature. "Under the leadership of the director Bambiza, Belovezhskaya Pushcha is gradually turned to complete annihilation. In pursuit of money any opportunities are used to cut down and extract wood as maximum as possible", the organizers of the action, group of the Project "Belovezhskaya Pushcha – XXI century", note. Besides cutting down of trees including oaks in the strictly reserved Wildness Protection Zone, "the hunting which leads to annihilation of the best animals" is mentioned among the "achievements" reached by Mr Bambiza and other appropriate officials. The authors of the appeal call for all to congratulate the "wood" officials with professional celebration and to ask them "to make all possible that to rescue the oldest in Europe wood awarded with a European Diploma and inscribed on a UNESCO's List of World Heritage".

UCP' Press-sevice
September 15, 2006 Website "United Civic Party" A prosecutor office to place its work to the United Civic Party's Chairman

Anatoliy Lebedko, Chairman of the United Civic Party, has received the answer concerning his complaint directed to a Prosecutor Office of the Republic of Belarus. The complaint was addressed to Petr Miklashevich, General Public Prosecutor. The quote from this document is the following.

"Despite continual protests of the Belarusian and international public, uncontrolled large-scale cutting down of oaks and other valuable kinds of trees proceeds in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Berezinski Biosphere Reserve and other protected areas of our country. With it all, if to go through Belarusian mass-media' publications and Alexander Lukashenko's statements, it is possible to make a conclusion that the symbol of Belarus, Belovezhskaya Pushcha, is the most suffering than the others.

I ask to conduct the prosecutor check-up on the facts of numerous infringement of nature protection legislation in the reserves of the Republic of Belarus".

The reply from the Prosecutor Office signed by G. Shostak, Head of the Prosecutor's Department says the following. "There is no basis to check up regarding the complaint. In the future when a complaint is submitted, you are offered to result in concrete facts about infringements of the legislation, and then the question on their checking up will be solved."

Coming from the same logic, if any man saw a murder, he should first of all find out who killed whom and for what, and only then to inform the competent services.

Thus, Anatoliy Lebedko was offered to investigate itself, that means to conduct the job which is the duty of appropriate state bodies, in this case, of the Prosecutor Office.

UCP' Press-sevice
September 15, 2006 Website ""TUT.BY" A Grandfather Frost from Belovezhskaya Pushcha to be invited to Russian colleague's name-day celebration

The managers of the Department of Tourism Development and of the Department of Interregional and External Communications in Exhibition, Trade Fairs and Tourism's Businesses at the administration of the Vologda region, and the employees of regional museums and a Grandfather Frost's residence in Velikiy Ustyug (all from Russia) have visited a Grandfather Frost in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

The administration of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" informed the BelTA Information Agency that the Russian visitors were served with an excursion across the Pushcha's forest, have visited a Museum of Nature and have familiarized with a tourist infrastructure of the National Park. However, one of the prior points of the visiting program was, of course, acquaintance with the Belarusian Grandfather Frost living in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The Russian visitors have brought an invitation to him to take part in celebrating birthday of the Russian Grandfather Frost in the residence in Velikiy Ustyug which will be in November. A Finnish Santa-Claus, Hungarian Mikulash, Karelian Pacaine and Yakut Chiezkhan are also the guests invited to the name-day.

Source of information: The embassy of Belarus in Russia
September 15, 2006 Website "Saint Nickolai's Orthodox Parish in Bialowieza" 80th anniversary of creation of the Catholic parish in Bialowieza (Poland)

On September 15, the Catholic parish in Bialowieza celebrates an important anniversary. In this occasion the Priest of the Orthodox parish in Bialowieza Sergiusz Korch has congratulated Andrzeja Matela, the Roman Catholic Priest, by a special letter and has expressed the best wishes.
September 13, 2006 Website "Charter'97" Bison to became more numerous in Belarusian woods

The InterFax Information Agency was informed from the Ministry of Forestry of Belarus that the number of bison will increase up to 730 animals by the end of 2006. There have noted that 680 bison live now in Belarusian woods.

The experts have emphasized that the increase in the number of bison was achieved due to introduction of unique experience of breeding and care of this animal developed by the Belarusian scientists. "Other CIS countries also claim this experience", the experts have told, having specified that a delegation of the hunting managers from the State Committee of Forestry of Ukraine has come to Minsk in order of learning the Belarusian experience.

"The visitors will stay in Belarus for two days, and will visit advanced timber enterprises and the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", the experts of the Ministry of Forestry said.

According to their data, the Ukrainian hunting managers are interested in close cooperation with the Belarusian colleagues and are going to use the Belarusian experience in Ukraine where the number in a population of bison has recently decreased because of poaching.

Intrerfax
September 13, 2006 Website "Saint Nickolai's Orthodox Parish in Bialowieza" A new tourist sight in Polish Bialowieza Forest

On September 14, a so-called "Place of Might" was solemnly open in vicinities of the village of Bialowieza. This place is situated within the territory of Bialowieza forest area which has created so-called Green Point where the tourists can have a rest by traveling in vicinities of Bialowieza. "The Place of Might" is located in Bialowieza Forest, nearly 1 km in the front of the village of Bialowieza.
September 11, 2006 Website News Service Experts of Council of Europe to visit Belovezhskaya Pushcha

From 25th to 27th August 2006 a three-day inspection of the experts of Council of Europe was held in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The purpose of the inspection was to check how the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" followed up recommendations of an European Diploma. The mission of the experts is scheduled once per each fife years, according to procedures of the European Diploma. The previous inspection was carried out in May of 2001 by Mr Charles Zimmer, expert of Council of Europe.

Back to the history, the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" was awarded a Council of European Diploma for outstanding achievements in the field of wild nature protection of Bialowieza Forest in 1997. In opinion of some independent Belarusian ecologist-experts, the Diploma was given to the National Park in advance, on the strength of further improvement of protection of the reserved nature and better preservation of the relic Bialowieza Forest, as there were many ecological problems and contradictions for a while of award of the European Diploma.

By the way, the visit of the experts of Council of Europe in 2001 coincided with appointment of Nickolai Bambiza a general director of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". This caused an attempt of sanitary clear cuttings onto the protected area of the National Park (like it is doing in ordinary timber enterprises) to fight a new epidemic of spruce bark beetles, as well as the staff collapse in the National Park and eradication of long-term local traditions to treat a reserved nature carefully. Apropos of this, the Belarusian patriotic public representatives addressed a special letter to Council of Europe. Reaction from Council became almost double increasing the number (from 10 to 18) of recommendations within the frame of European Diploma for the next fife years. (To be more aware of the text of the resolution and recommendations of European Diploma is possible by clicking here).

As an expert of Council of Europe, Professor Eckhart Kuijken came to Pushcha this time. His visit passed in the frame of a standard scheme including the following items.
1. To be acquainted with basic results of conducting the recommendations of Council of Europe.
2. To get documents in order to confirm execution of the recommendations.
3. A fact-finding trip within the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha in order to check execution of the recommendations in the forest.
4. Meeting with representatives of state bodies and public organizations which are located or work in the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and are interested in its preservation.

According to information got from Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Anna Dengubenko, Ph.D. of Biology, former deputy general director on science and currently pensioner, who was invited for this special purpose, and Gregory Kravchuk, engineer on forestry (also a pensioner but still a temporary staff of the Park), were the responsible who personally accompanied with the expert of Council of Europe within the territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and worked with him during all the period of his stay. By the way, local independent experts consider these people the most contributed to destruction of the reserved nature and relic forest of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, in connection with large-scale cuttings down within last fife years. Forester Vladimir Tolkach, Ph.D. of Agriculture, also took part in the final session at the "narrow" table when there was summarizing. He is considered in Belovezhskaya Pushcha the main theorist who "scientifically" grounded cuttings down of the protected primeval wood. Except for them, forester Dmitry Bernatskiy, young minor research employee of the scientific department, worked with the expert of Council of Europe. His present and former colleagues have different opinions on his participation – either he was ordered or he was "awarded a honour" to participate in such the job, as a "deserved" generation changing "old guards" of "the conservators" of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. At least, the people if they are casual or unreliable, and especially if they do not share the Park's policy provided by the present administration, will scarcely be allowed to conduct such an important and responsible job as the visit of the experts of Council of Europe.

By the way, the present deputy director on science, Professor of Biology Evgeniy Busco had nearly no participation to work with the expert of Council of Europe. The Park's workers explain that this is because of a case of misunderstanding and conflict which happened few weeks ago in the Park. Evgeniy Busco permitted Valery Dranchuk, journalist, ecologist and public activist for protection of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, to visit the scientific department. Valery Dranchuk was detained after the meeting and actually thrown out by the Park's guard from the territory of a timber processing plant where the administrative centre and scientific department of the National Park are now situated. A report because of his ostensibly "infringement of rules of visiting the National Park" was drawn up. This incident became a property of independent mass-media and changed an image of the National Park, which is already low, to the worse on the eve of the visit of the Council of Europe's expert.

According to information got from the Park's workers and locals, the visit of the Council of Europe's expert went off to be close from the public. There were no any open public meetings with the park's employees or general local public. The only short-term contacts of the expert to a management of district inspections of Nature Protection and some other managers were taken place.

It should be noted that, according to independent experts dealing with Belovezhskaya Pushcha, there was no progress at fulfillment of the recommendations for the last five years. Quite the contrary, many of the recommendations were roughly broken. Nevertheless, this time the public did not act with an appeal to Council of Europe concerning a negative situation in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and non-fulfillment of the recommendations of European Diploma. We addressed the question "Why have this happened so?" to Heorhi Kazulka, former deputy director on science of the National Park and currently independent expert on Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Ph.D. of Biology.

"It's true. A real catastrophe, not so much natural as humanitarian and social one, happened in Belovezhskaya Pushcha for the last fife years. The administration of the National Park made as much infringements of national and international nature protection legislation for the last years as one can only conditionally and relatively say about any achievements on the Diploma's recommendations. Let's recollect, at least, an attempt of brining into the practice of sanitary clear cuttings within the protected territory, illegal secret cuttings of living wood stands of old age and giant trees for a sawmill, cutting scientific permanent plots for forest monitoring, large-scale artificial afforestation with the use of heavy tractors and technologies destructive for environment, and many other things. All of these was fixed and described in detail in the section "Photo-fact" of the website "Belovezhskaya Pushcha – 21st Century". This is the direct noncompliance and ignoring the recommendation No 5 of European Diploma which indicates that such kind of silvicultural techniques should be reviewed and turned to more flexible management minimizing damage to biodiversity and natural processes. The recommendation No 11 which specifies necessity of prohibition of hunting, except for selection of animals, has not been executed. Hunting actually continues, only being covered a kind of selection. I am not aware of results of scientific investigations connected to the effects of fishing and to the restocking of the Park's watercourses and lakes. Apparently they were not carried out. Nevertheless, the reservoirs were reconstructed and even new ones were dug out. That violates the recommendation No 13. Researches on fauna of invertebrates was completely failed (the recommendation No 14). Today there is no entomologist, expert on insects, in the Park, although eight years ago there were four of them, three with PhD's scientific degree in biology. There are problems concerning the number of guides of the Museum of nature and functions of the visitors' department (not entire compliance with the recommendations No 16 and 17). The protected status of a big area in the heart of the forest got lowered because of building a residence of entertainment Grandfather Frost there. The list of infringements and failures can be continued.

Of course, no one denies the fact that something positive was done and some recommendations have being carried out. For example, the Wildness Protection zone was enlarged thanks to pressure of UNESCO and national public. The Buffer zone incorporated into the Park to extend its total territory. Some scientific researches have been carried out. A tourist infrastructure has been reconstructed and developed. Any nature protection programs have been developed. Of course, I do not doubt that the expert of Council of Europe was submitted in the Park with papers which were more than fine. The administration professionally manages to make "facade" and deception. However, these achievements, as a rule, are rather poor in practice, compared with European standards, and simply fade on a background of numerous roughest infringements!

Why doesn't the public appeal to Council of Europe? As a minimum there are three reasons. Firstly, there is already no national public to be involved into preparing the appeal. The number of the representatives of the Belarusian public defending Belovezhskaya Pushcha, and other national parks, promptly comes nearer to zero. Even fife years ago, the politics and writers, not ecologists, comprised the majority in terms of signing a letter to Council of Europe. The ecologists and activists to protect nature have always been weak and passive, without the active civic position. For the last fife years, as a result of state policy on suffocation of the civic society and public initiatives, the most of ecologists and activists on nature protection either became "hidden in holes" or changed ecological specialization to something better financial and profitable. The others, instead of solving urgent problems and achievement of public-important results, live in a virtual space and more advertise their names than are engaged in important actions. As to the scientist-ecologists, there were no hopes even before. Unfortunately, the absolute majority of them are deep in carrying out their narrow-specialized researches, often being far from the real life. They are just no interested in anything another. I already wrote in detail about all of these in the article "Green bazaar".

The second reason is that, in the conditions of modern political and social system in Belarus, European Diploma has no effective mechanism regarding preservation of reserved nature in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Look at how many different decisions and recommendations towards Belarus were ignored by our government for the last years? A lot. What will be changed if there will be one more ignored document or one less? Nothing. Let's add a bureaucratic character of Council of Europe what is generally typical for either governmental or international body.

No one will, therefore, help us and no one, instead of us, will protect Belovezhskaya Pushcha, until we will do it ourselves. This means that the today's special stress has to be laid on formation of the civic society in the country and on organization of a concrete business concerning protection of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, not on formal appeals to international bodies. There are many problems in this way than one can like. Not necessary to blame only state bodies for all things. Unfortunately, those people who should be engaged in protection and preservation of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, today act separately. Each of them works alone and is engaged in something own – either in reaching one's momentary benefit or they do not understand vital tasks and are not able to manage them or they cannot think of global and work on local.

The third reason is that information about the visit of the expert of Council of Europe was received too late, although it is probably our exclusive defect. Anyway, it would be unreasonably to force or break through local guard's chain for joining the meeting with the expert. This is, moreover, because some local inhabitants personally heard how the administration gave a command to the Park's guard "do not allow Kazulka's entrance to the meeting with the expert of Council of Europe". The main is to reach the final result. The modern century makes other ways and possibilities for work and achievement of the purposes. The same concerns the work with the experts of Council of Europe. Although the expert left Pushcha, it's therefore very early to put the final point.

Certainly, the question is not about how to seize validity of the Diploma for the Park. It would become too great gift for the administration of the National Park. If this case, there will be no need at least to make it appear for European community that all is good here. The European Diploma is an additional, though weak, mechanism to provide control of the Park's administration. The question is only how to make it more effective and successful", Heorhi Kazulka said.

After the visiting Belarus, the expert of Council of Europe came to the Polish part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha where he carried out the same work with the Polish administration of Bialowieza National Park and the representatives of environmental, public and democratic organizations involved in preservation of Polish Bialowieza Forest. Upon termination of the mission the work with documents and information will be continued in order to make a report and new recommendations for the next period of five years.
September 04, 2006 "BDG-onlin Newspaper" Mr Lebedko to call a prosecutor office to investigate business of "oak corruption"

Anatoliy Lebedko, Chairman of the United Civic Party, addressed to Petr Miklashevich, Public Prosecutor of Belarus, with an offer, in accordance with relevant legislation, to institute criminal proceedings using the fact of numerous cases of felling of oak and other valuable trees in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Berezinski Biosphere Reserve and other territories, which are under the protected status, against guilty to the crime.

Anatoliy Lebedko reminded that he, as a Deputy of Supreme Soviet, was engaged in this problem in 1996. At that time all reserves were subordinated to the Property Management Department of the President, being governed from the Ministry of Forestry before.

In that time the Ministry of Forestry informed the deputy Anatoliy Lebedko that the statistics concerning wood cuttings on the lands which are under control of the President's Property Management Department is absent. This is secret information. A prosecutor office confined itself to general declarations of a lack of corpus delicti in actions made by the presidential officials.

Mr Lebedko then repeatedly paid attention to the fact that trees of valuable species cut down in Belarus were registered wood from Russia and, avoiding national legislation, were exported to abroad. At the same time corruption rapidly appeared on plots where oaks of century age were cut. It is impossible not to exclude that some of cottages, grown close to the Lukashenko's residence "Drozdy", were erected on the base of oak stumps.

The Lebedko's new appeal to the prosecutor office is based on a Lukashenko's statement made during a meeting on issues of improving effective work in the forest and wood-processing branches on July 14, 2006. He declared "I will personally investigate everyone. After the election it was rather concretely said about the style of job. I will not run after everyone. I will find guilty. Manager Titenkov sold oak trees to Germany free of charge. After I relieved him of the post, Germans said "We fill pity for Mr Titenkov only because it will be impossible to take oak from Belovezhskaya Pushcha".

If to add a Lukashenko's public statement that Mr Titenkov stole tens millions dollars, and the fact that, after dismissal of the first manager of the Property Management Department, timber lorries, straining all power, took valuable wood out of reserves and protected areas, there is a logic question. Why are there crimes but aren't there the criminals? Why does lawlessness proceed to be till now, in despite of Lukashenko's threatening promises to wring someone's neck?

"The prosecutor offices must ether institute criminal proceedings and show the scales of catastrophe and corruption or admit Alexander Lukashenko's feature to be poor in keeping words", head of the UC Party noted. Anatoliy Lebedko also sent in an addressing to Mr Zimovsky, Kisel and Koziyatko (TV managers) with an offer to carry out public TV-debate under the topic "of oak corruption". "Instead of relishing problems of the Polish farmers or the Garlem's inhabitants, it would be more useful to discuss disgraces and greed of the officials in the own state", Anatoliy Lebedko considered.

The source is AFN
September 01, 2006 Website News Service A new director in the Kamenyuki secondary ecological school

On September 1, a in new school year began in Kamenyuki secondary school which has an ecological status. According to the tradition, a ceremonial meeting with participation of the pupils and teachers was held before lessons. The invited guests - representatives of the Kamenetz District Educational Department, District Military Committee, Frontier Guard Service, Church, National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", and the parents - wished educational successes to the pupils. Major heroes of the celebration, as usually, became seventeen children of the first form. The only four of them are the girls this year. The pupils with excellent educational achievements were granted by a premium of some money from the National Park.

However, the main event of this celebration, possibly, became introduction of a new director of the ecological school. Sergey Mikhalochkin, former teacher of physical education with about 10 years of working experience in the school, has been appointed the director. He replaced Valentina Frolova, teacher of Russian and literature, at this post because of her retirement age.