NEWS ARCHIVE: December 2003

December 27, 2003 «Sovetskaya Belorussiya» (The Soviet Byelorussia) Newspaper», #242 Winter adventure

Any holidays will become an amazing experience if you set off for adventure. For example, to Santa Claus who now lives in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Any child will not rest indifferent meeting this fascinating fairy-tale character, who has also plenty of fun to offer his guests in his residence! By the way, you can arrange a visit to Santa with the Minsk regional tourist centre.

Svetlana BARTOSHEVICH
December 20, 2003 «Vecherniy Brest» (The Brest Evening) Newspaper, #104 Santa's secrets

The residence of the Belarusian Santa Claus, or Farther Frost, is officially to open on December 25. Though, after a group of journalists has given it such a good publicity, it is already attracting an army of visitors. «The Belarusian Santa Claus» is perhaps the most advertised project in our country now. Don't dillydally — go and see the number one man of the New Year's celebrations! That isn't an original idea, though. Otherwise, the residence of Santa would have seen much fewer visitors.
December 20, 2003 «7 Dney» (7 Days) Newspaper, #51 The residence of the Belarusian Santa Claus has been built in Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park. Its territory of 15 hectares features the houses of Santa and Snegurochka (his granddaughter — Snow Maiden), as well as the «Skarbnitsa» (a place where Santa keeps his presents), a wind mill and a "magic well«. Two wooden knights designed after popular Belarusian fairy tales, Dub-Dubovich and Vyaz-Vyazovich, meet visitors at the entrance to the residence. One can also find there in special open-air enclosures three tame young elks which will be harnessed to Santa's sleigh when they grow up. The beauty of the residence is a 120-year-old spruce tree which is 42 metres high. »It is the highest natural New Year's tree in Europe and it will never be cut down«, director of the National Park »Belovezhskaya Pushcha« Nikolai Bambiza said.
December 18, 2003 «Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi» (The Komsomol Truth in Belarus) Newspaper, #233 Embroidered valenki for Belarusian Santa

His full beard is from Germany and his coat was sewn in the Belarusian town of Orsha using the fur which was found in Minsk. The Belarusian Santa Claus, or Father Frost, finally showed himself to journalists a few days ago. He lives with his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) and young apprentices called Frosts. The utmost effect had surely his luxurious, embroidered with gold dress, full beard and almost a metre long gift bag.

Olga SHESTAKOVA
December 18, 2003 «Narodnaya Volya» (The People's Will) Newspaper, #241 Santa Claus lives in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

Situated in Belovezhskaya Pushcha just 10 kilometres off the main entrance to the National Park, the residence of the Belarusian Santa Claus will invite its first visitors on December 25.

The major work in the residence has been done over the past three months, according to director of the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» Nikolai Bambiza, who made that statement during the first journalists' visit to a new home of Santa Claus. The territory occupied by his residence has the manor house of Santa, the house of his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden), the museum of presents and a wind mill, all made of asp. A fairy-tale atmosphere is also created by groups of wooden sculptures "Snow-white and Seven Dwarfs« and »Twelve Months«, as wells as by a Stone of wishes, a magic well and a harness for deer decorated with electric bulbs. Among many attractions in the residence one will also find tame elks and the highest (a 40-metre high) New Year's tree in Europe. The artist and the author of many sculptures of the project is the famous Belarusian woodcarver Aleksander Masla.

300 million roubles were spent on the residence's construction, but N.Bambiza says this money will soon pay for itself. According to his estimate, the residence will be able to invite up to 700 visitors a day. Over 100 collective requests have been already made. A ticket for children costs 5,000 roubles and adults will pay 12,000 roubles. The residence will be open from 9 am to 6 pm for tourist groups of 10 or more people, who will be taken to it on the park transportation from the main entrance of the National Park.

Vyacheslav Simakov, the writer from the nearest village was chosen to be Santa Claus. M.Bambiza says this is a regular appointment, so Santa Claus together with Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) will be in the residence through out the year.
December 18, 2003 «Narodnaya Volya» (The People's Will) Newspaper, #241 Belovezhskaya Pushcha doubls its size

46,000 hectares of adjoining lands will be added to the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» in the near future. According to research deputy director of the National Park Anna Dengubenko, animals do not have enough of feed in Pushcha, so the feed fields will be made on new lands.

Laviniya ORESHKO
December 17, 2003 «Minskiy kurier» (The Minsk Courier) Newspaper, #229 Santa Claus takes a trip to Minsk

True Santa Claus has arrived on a visit to the Belarusian capital Minsk just from Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Santa was invited to stay at a cosy tower-house, which was built on that occasion in the M.Gorki Central Park for Children. Two snowmen guard the house from forest animals and robbers. A magic chest full of soft toys and candies — Santa's presents for children — stands by the house's door. It's not easy to get inside. To do that, children have to overcome witchcraft of some nasty creatures like Byaka-Zakaryaka and Baba-Yaga. Only those who are the most courageous and obedient (and all children in our city are) will be able to win over them and meet Santa in his house.

Yuri SVYATOKUM
December 16, 2003 «Narodnaya Volya» (The People's Will) Newspaper, #239 7 simplified border crossings to Poland

Seven simplified border check points will be open at the border of Poland and Belarus in the new tourist season. The agreement was reached at the meeting of the intergovernmental coordination committee of Poland and Belarus on transboundary cooperation in the town of Kamenetz.

According to head of the Belarusian delegation and deputy Foreign Minister Aleksander Mihnevich, the work of the former six border check points will be renewed and the seventh one, at the Augustovski canal sector of the border (Grodno region) will become international together with the check point Perarov-Belovezha in the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Other check points will be intergovernmental. At the Augustovski canal sector of the border and at the Perarov-Belovezha sector people will be able to cross the border on the ferry or on foot and on foot or by bicycle accordingly. Other check points will be on foot border crossings.

BelaPAN News Agency
December 13, 2003 «TUT.BY Website News» Belarus, Ukraine and Poland took decision to create common reserve «Western Polesie»

Belarus, Ukraine and Poland decided on creation of a transboundary Biosphere Reserve «Western Polesie», the representatives of the National Academy of Science of Belarus announced on Friday, December 12. Today, in Belovezhskaya Pushcha the representatives of the Ministries of Natural Resources and Environment of these three countries have discussed the organization of the first common Biosphere Reserve. The talks in particular were focused on defining the border and hydrological and ecosystem conditions of the territories. According to scientists, that will help define the measures Belarus, Ukraine and Poland will have to take to conserve the ecological and landscape diversity in the region.

Masha LUNEVA
December 08, 2003 «Vecherniy Brest» (The Brest Evening) Newspaper In 1991 the leaders of the Republic of Belarus, The Russian Federation and Ukraine signed an agreement to denounce the treaty on creation of the USSR in 1922 to create the Commonwealth of Independent States (the agreement was signed in the residence of Viskuly in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha).
December 03, 2003 Website News Service Pool instead of 220-year-old pine tree

Our news team has recently reported that the administrative building of the National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» is being reconstructed into one more hotel. The building used to house the park administration and scientific department. Now, another construction began in the north part of the area, between the administrative building and the sports ground with a tennis court, this time to build a swimming pool. For this purpose a 40 by 30 metres area of the pristine forest of old age was cut down on November 21 — 22. The forest had tens of beautiful spruce, pine, oak, birch and asp trees. The age of the spruce and pine trees was over 100 years. The oak trees were younger. The age of the oldest pine tree was 220 years.

When the already former administrative centre was being built in the 1960s and the 1970s, the directors of Belovezhskaya Pushcha (then Vladimir Romanov, Vladimir Romanovski, Stepan Kochanovski) were scientists and forestry specialists, the really great people. Erecting the administrative buildings they tried to save as many trees as possible and did not cut down even 100 or 150-year-old pine trees growing within a metre of the wall of the building. Judging by the work of the present administration headed by Nikolai Bambiza, the policy towards that has changed. The saw of a lumberman did not spare even a 220-year-old spruce tree which was growing 20 metres away from the administrative building…

The felling at the site of a future swimming pool was carried out under high conspiracy, quickly and inconspicuously to the public eye, just in 24 hours from Friday to Saturday. The cut-down trunks were quickly cut into pieces and transported to the timber mill for processing. Some said the flames from huge piles of burning branches were «reaching the sky». The stubbing began on Monday, so by this time the site has been ready for the pool construction. Only a few stubs on the sides of the area remind that Belovezhskaya Pushcha lost one more part of its elite forest.

It is difficult to say whether there were grounds for such actions or permission, or whether the law was not infringed in the case, as it had been many times before that. The site had a very old pine tree which cannot be cut down for no good reason. All attempts to find out more information on that were not successful. Though, one may suspect what the nature of the felling was, given the general secrecy about it and the fact that it was literally carried out at the weekend with the evidence (in the from of wood) immediately removed.
December 02, 2003 «Zvyazda» (The Star) Newspaper, #302 The State National Park «Belovezhskaya Pushcha» together with an environmental organization from the Netherlands began working at creation of an ecological corridor between Belarus and Poland. The barbed wire at the border of Belarus and Poland has a negative effect on the populations of the elk and the roe deer. The problem has been recently discussed during the meeting of the parliamentarians of two countries in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. It was agreed that the hearings on the partial removal of the barbed wire will be held at the end of the year in Brussels.

Svetlana Yskevich