NEWS ARCHIVE: November 2005

November 24, 2005 "Respublika" (The Republic) newspaper, No 209 Truth about Belarus - free and sincere dialogue

A press conference of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko given for representatives of Russian regional mass-medias was held yesterday in Minsk. About 80 journalists from more than 50 regions of Russian Federation were the participants. This is already the third meeting of the similar format organized by the President of Belarus to Russian mass-medias. The previous two were held in 2003 and 2004.

The day before the meeting with the Belarusian President, the journalists visited Brest region where they have familiarized with work of the Agricultural enterprise "Belovezhskiy" and the joint-stock companies "Savushkin Product" and "BrestGasApparatus", as well as visited the Memorial complex "Brest Hero-Fortress" and the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". Besides of this, the representatives of Russian mass-medias have familiarized with a cultural and historical heritage of Belarus by coming to castle complex "Mir" in Grodno region and joining an excursion trip in Minsk.

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(The news is set in the short-cut form, referred by "BP - 21 Century")
November 21, 2005 Belovezhskaya Pushcha For the memory of Sergey Balyuk, former director of Belovezhskaya Pushcha

Sergey Balyuk
On 18th November 2004, with long and heavy illness, the former director of National park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" Sergey Balyuk has gone.

Sergey Balyuk was born on January 18, 1937 in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. On ending a secondary school he was an ordinary worker and simultaneously studied at the forest college, then at the Byelorussian Forest Technological Institute. On graduating he worked a forester of Korolevo-Mostovskoye forest area. In 1979 he was appointed director of the State Protected Game Ground (SPGG) "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and held this post within 15 years. That time can be characterized as a historical epoch of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Being under his leadership, the village of Kamenyuki, administrative centre of the State Protected Game Ground, turned to a modern urban area. New modern multi-room houses for the employees, new school building, House of culture, polyclinic, hotel, post office and other objects were constructed. As a perfect economic manager, he led to quick develop economic infrastructure in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, although it did not bring benefit for preservation of reserved nature and scientific development in some cases. With the direct participation of Sergey Balyuk, SPGG was reorganized into a National Park in 1991. In 1992 Belovezhskaya Pushcha was inscribed on a List of World Heritage Sites and in 1993 it was gained with a status of Biosphere Reserve.

In 1994, after the first presidential election and subordination of Belovezhskaya Pushcha to the Property Management Department of the President of the Republic of Belarus, Sergey Balyuk was discharged from the general director post and dismissed from the National Park, although afterwards many accusations were not legally proved. Further Sergey Balyuk was pensioned.

Holding the high management post, Sergey Balyuk was compelled to make uneasy decisions at times that touched interests of many people. Nevertheless he tried to help the people with advice or business to solve their personal and labour problems. He was a sociable, simple in contacts and good-natured man.

As a local inhabitant of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Sergey Balyuk loved it in one's own way and cared about this forest. The ancient wood became a part of his life. For all last years Sergey Balyuk openly, in press and at meetings with the officials, stated his disagreement with the current management methods in Belovezhskaya Pushcha which put irreparable damage to the reserved wood. In this way Sergey Balyuk contributed what he could to help to protection of this wild nature area against unreasoned, incompetent and adventurous administrative decisions.

In the person of Sergey Balyuk, Belovezhskaya Pushcha has lost the man who will remain in memory and hearts of the inhabitants of Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

The former colleagues,
Belovezhskaya Pushcha
November 20, 2005 Website News Service A new petrol pump service station open in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

Petrol service station
In Belovezhskaya Pushcha, at the entrance to the village of Kamenyuki that is an administrative center of the National Park, the construction of a new petrol service station owned by the company "Belorusneft (Beloruspetrolium)" is complete. The petrol-refueling station is designed to serve 250 fill-up-acts for twenty-four-hours. A branch of the building trust No8 of the city of Brest was responsible for the station construction.
November 04, 2005 "Narodnaya Volya" (The People's Will) Newspaper, No 214 Judgment for the managers of the National Park "Braslav Lakes" will be passed upon

The former director, chief-accountant and chief of one of the departments of this institution are under crime accusation to do damage to the state, all in all about one billion Belarusian Roubles (~500,000 US $), General Public Prosecutor of Belarus Peter Miklashevich declared at some point of the recent meeting with Alexander Lukashenka..

A story about abuses in the National Park "Braslav Lakes" originated from infamous facts. In April, 2005 Alexander Lukashenka personally has ordered to create a special commission in order to thorough checking up on the activity of the Park's management including Vladimir Senkovskiy, director of the presidential body. Zenon Lomat, President's Assistant and Cief-Inspector on the Vitebsk region, was at the head of the commission.

The inspectors from the National Office of Public Prosecutor and the Ministry of Internal Affairs began to work in Braslav. First criminal cases appeared very soon. The director of the National Park "Braslav Lakes" Vladimir Senkovskiy was arrested on a charge of abusing his authority. At the end of May, Chief of the Department of Fauna Protection and Game Facility Oleg Selyah was detained when he drove to Minsk. He is in Minsk special isolator till now. .

Probably, this sounded case would be out of the public attention, if it were not for the Park "Braslav Lakes" that is an unordinary district institution. Since 1995 it was granted with a status "National" and subordinated to the President's Property Management Department. .

In 1997 Peter Mikholap was appointed to manage the Park. But already of September, 1999 he was accused the abusing his duty powers and condemned to four years' term in prison. Chief-accountant of the institution Valentina Lavrinovich, like the director, was also condemned. .

Six years later the similar situation marvellously appeared in the Park. In April, 2005 Vladimir Senkovskiy who became the next institution's head, at once after Mr Mikholap, was also accused the abusing his authority. .

The Park's employees were asked a question "The President's Property Management Department appoints the managers who then brazenly steal? They steal just being under direct control of the chiefs of the presidential body? Or nevertheless do they do it with consent of top-ranked officials?" .

A court should answer these questions. Peter Miklashevich has reported to the president that the national prosecutor office has completed the investigation. Not only director Vladimir Senkovskiy but also Park's chief-accountant Alena Kasiyanchik and chief of the Department of Fauna Protection and Game Facility Oleg Selyah were found guilty. Peter Miklashevich has reported at the meeting with the head of the state that they repeatedly abused duty power and made plunders of property, duty forgeries and others criminal actions that did damage, all in all about one billion Belarusian Roubles. .

We have found out that they are being charged with more than five episodes under several clauses of the criminal Code. .

By the way, in April the "Braslav" case was initiated thirty four workers of the Park have addressed a letter to Zenon Lomat and of the national prosecutor office Andrei Ershov where they asked carefully investigate the circumstances and not institute proceedings against "little men" but against those officials from the Presidential Administration who supervise the National Park. .

In August Alexander Lukashenka has ordered to discharge from the post of the deputy manager of the President's Property Management Department Vasiliy Sudas, for a lack of opportune measures on suppression of offences and abusing made by the administration of the National Park "Braslav Lakes". Head of the Control-Auditing Department of the Property Management Department Oleg Kovalevskiy and head of the Department of Protected Natural Areas and Nature Use Alexander Luchkov have also lost their posts. .

Is it really the punishment?.. .

Olga GRINEVITSKAYA