NEWS ARCHIVE: December 2004

December 28, 2004 "Narodnaya Volya" (The People's Will) Newspaper, No 245 How old is Belovezhskaya Pushcha?

The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" celebrated its 65-years' anniversary in the work frame, without special festivity on December, 25, although some particular feature of this day was the record of tourists visited the National Park- 63 groups. They were mainly children because school holidays started and children used this case to join the excursion to the fairy-tale residence of the Belarusian Grandfather Frost the days before New Year.

By the way, this anniversary of the National Park can be considered as the relative. The general director Nickolai Bambiza focused during the recent meeting with reporters that historical documents testify about the first actions on protection of Belovezhskaya Pushcha dated from 1411 when the Lithuanian prince Jagiello placed a ban on the use of natural riches of this great forest. This is why the employees of the Belarusian National Park intend to propose for Polish partners to celebrate 600-years' anniversary of the reserve as the whole together in 2011.

December 27, 2004 1st Belarusian TV Channel Not wild reserved nature but Santa Clause attracts the foreign tourists in Belovezhskaya Pushcha*

The film "Tourism development in Belarus" has been demonstrated on the Belarusian TV this Monday. The authors of the film put the Belovezhskaya Pushcha as the positive example of this development. The text about Belovezhskaya Pushcha originated from this film is presented below.

"Let's consider Belovezhskaya Pushcha as the example. The residence of the Belarusian Grandfather Frost (Santa Clause) has been built there last year. The amount of visitors increased twice at once. The geography of the countries where from the people come to Belovezhskaya Pushcha also changed. Not the Belarusian primeval wood but other spirit attracted them: the fantastic estate, the all-powerful magic Grandfather Frost, the guest houses, the traditional national kitchen and the spirit of the most mysterious and liked New Year's holiday. The wooden residence did not destroy the Belovezhskaya Pushcha's ecosystem. The people all over the world started talking about the ancient wood and its residence. As a result, the tourists became the visitors and brought the money. While there was Belovezhskaya Pushcha with bison, deer, huntsmen and wild nature before but there was no effect of these."

*The title of the news by the Website News Service
December 24, 2004 "Vecherniy Minsk" (The Evening Minsk) Newspaper, No 506 Belovezhskaya Pushcha is one whose name-day it is

Today the Belovezhskaya Pushcha celebrates its birthday. The State Reserve has been established 65 years ago and then it has been reorganized into the National Park. This is what the general director of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" Nickolai Bambiza said. However the true anniversary will come here at least in 10 years when the wilderness protection business in Belovezhskaya Pushcha will be 600 years since it was starting.

Nickolai Bambiza said that the scientific employees of the National Park try to define the exact date. It is known for certain that the Lithuanian prince Jagiello has placed a ban on the timber fellings in Belovezhskaya Pushcha in the beginning of XV century. He has decreed the hunting right in Belovezhskaya Pushcha only for himself and his brother. Belovezhskaya Pushcha, independently of the possession, always had the specially protected area's status during many centuries like it is to this day. Over 900 species of plants, about 600 species of mosses and lichens, over thousand species of mushrooms grow in the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The forest averages more than 100 years while certain sites are 250 - 350 years old. About 1,000 giant trees including oak trees of 400 - 600-years old, ash and pine trees of 250 - 350-years old and spruce trees of 200 - 250-years old are registered there. The fauna is also diverse: 59 species of mammals, 11 species of amphibious, 7 species of reptiles, 28 species of fishes and about 250 species of birds including 75 species listed in the Belarus Red Data Book. Large animals such as bison, red deer, wild boar and roe deer live in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. They number accordingly about 300, 1600, 1300, 500 as well as more than twenty lynxes.

Today the State Nature Protection Institution "National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" is the large Belarusian tourist centre with the good tourist infrastructure. The museum of nature, zoo enclosures with different animal species, comfortable hotels, the restaurant of the national kitchen, the tennis court and other sport sites, saunas and billiard are available there. Tourists being under skilled guiding can join a fascinating excursion in the most beautiful sites of Belovezhskaya Pushcha by bus and visit the residence of the Belarusian Grandfather Frost which opened a door since December, 2003, Nickolai Bambiza noted.

In 1992, UNESCO made the Belovezhskaya Pushcha a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Belovezhskaya Pushcha was given the status of a Biosphere Reserve in 1993 and, in 1997, it was awarded a Council of Europe Diploma.

Romuald KOBYAK
December 23, 2004 Website News Service Unusual greetings for the director of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and the head of the President's Property Management Department

Happy New Year's postcard
Happy New Year!
The Belarusian Social Democratic Party "Narodnaya Gromada" of the Brest region put up a proposal to unusually wish head of the President's Property Management Department (PPMD) Gennady Lavrenkov and director of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" Nikolai Bambiza a happy new year. The proposal was approved by the party members and supporters, and about 200 greeting cards featuring a picture of a huge cut-down oak with the "Happy New Year!" caption were sent to the aforementioned officials. The explanation on the back of the cards said: "The oak died at the age of about 250 years in quarter 711 of the Korolevo-Mostovskoe forestry in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". The senders wrote on the cards about their concern with the situation in the national park and called on the officials to protect the unique forest protesting against and demanding to stop the felling in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Some of the cards had simple poetic lines like "Do not fell muzhiks, do not destroy." written on them. Some cards were photocopied and sent to other state institutions and government establishments.

The party came up with the proposal as it says Mr Bambiza is a man who measures Belovezhskaya Pushcha by cubic meters of wood on a par with Mr Lavrenkov of the PPMD who continues the sanctions of barbaric felling in the oldest Belarusian reserve. The felling of not only dead spruce-wood, but also of growing pine and oak trees has been going on there under a bluntly cynical pretext of fighting bark beetle. One has to put an end to it as gluttonous appetites of the administration of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" for wood-processing can bring the unique woodland to the verge where it is no more than just a forestry.
December 23, 2004 "Minskiy kurier" (The Minsk Courier) Newspaper, No 505 Santa Clause will come soon.

The winter season of this year is particular for the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha": a 100-thousandth visitor is expecting in December there. A Christmas surprise is prepared for this visitor.

The Christmas holidays are very specific in the National Park compared with the other periods. Tourists who come from Belarus and abroad have shown the essential growth in number since the residence of the Grandfather Frost (Santa Clause) appeared last year. For example, about 27,000 people visited this site to the beginning of November of this year. Moreover, the tourists who wish to meet the Grandfather Frost and his Granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Meiden) become more and more numerous.

The employees of the Park made all to improve the service in the Grandfather Frost's residence and its vicinities last summer. They covered access roads by asphalt and placed the new sculptural groups and summer-houses. They supplied the shops by native souvenir production. The Christmas season of this year will be opened in Belovezhskaya Pushcha approximately in the middle of December when the Grandfather Frost will return home after he went to meet his Granddaughter.

December 21, 2004 "Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi" (The Komsomol Truth in Belarus) Newspaper THE PRESIDENT WILL GO TO THE GRANDFATHER FROST'S RESIDENCE IN BELOVEZHSKAYA PUSHCHA

The Grandfather Frost and Snegurochka (Snow Meiden)
True no one knows about the date of this visit. It is possible that it will be unexpected like a bolt from the blue.

A Christmas tree party with the President's participation was primordially scheduled in Belovezhskaya Pushcha on December 24. But neither the Property Management Department of the President nor press-service and the administration of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha know for the present whether a Christmas tree party with the Lukashenko's participation will be taken place in the coming Friday or the visit should be rescheduled.

I cannot say precisely for a while yet although the visit was scheduled earlier. The program for the coming two days is known for now: meetings of the leader of the country, for example with the Russian Prime Minister Fradkov, are planned but not in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. This was the answer of the press-service of the President.

Does it mean is time scheduled for serious businesses?

Why do you think a Christmas tree party is a frivolous business? It's very serious.

The Property Management Department of the President is responsible for the presidential Christmas tree party. There is information that the scenario is not approved yet but there are two of them as the minimum for some occasion. Lucky-children have been already selecting in reserve: letters, drawings addressed to the Grandfather Frost and the "battle" achievements in the school were criteria for their choosing.

Certainly, gifts will be available too. Whether is he the true President if he hasn't gifts for children? However we cannot say what exactly the President will do before the scenario is not approved. This was the explanation of the manager of the tourism sector at the Property Management Department of the President Vladimir Kushchienko.

Vladimir, do you know something about the Grandfather Frost's clothes which can be used for the President?

I do not know but this case is absent in the scenario.

It is absent in the scenario but if he will suddenly wish to do it, do you hold a clothes in readiness?

We hold nothing in readiness but if the President will decide we are always ready to execute his decision.

December 21, 2004 The website "" CIS celebrates 13-years anniversary

13 years have passed since the Commonwealth of Independent States was established. The leaders of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine signed the agreement on establishment of CIS in Viskuly (the residence of the Belarusian government in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the editor's note) on December 8, 1991.

The leaders of eleven sovereign states have signed the protocol of this agreement in Alma-Ata on December 21, 1991. The protocol had the point about Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Moldova, Russia, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine which established the Commonwealth of Independent States as the principle of enjoying equal rights.

The participants of the meeting unanimously accepted the Alma-Ata's Declaration which confirmed adherence of the countries of the former USSR to cooperation in various fields of the external and internal policy and advanced a guarantee of performance of the international obligations of the former USSR. Georgia has joined to CIS in December of 1993.

According to "News-Ukraine's" informational source
December 17, 2004 "Minskiy kurier" (The Minsk Courier) Newspaper, No 500 Belovezhskaya Pushcha is transforming

The new hotel with a pool, saunas and three conference halls will be built in Belovezhskaya Pushcha in 2005.

The administration of the main reserve of Belarus plans to build new cottages for tourists on the coast of one of the lakes and to set up special places for fishermen. Creating comfortable conditions for visitors, the Park's managers want to see the coming back tourists once again after their visit of Belovezhskaya Pushcha , moreover they want that these tourists also tell about Pushcha to their friends and familiars. It was made a lot of work in the National Park for this purpose already: the overhaul of hotel and restaurant at the administrative centre of the National Park was done and the road asphalt cover to zoo enclosures, the governmental residence "Viskuly" and the estate of the Grandfather Frost was under full reconstruction. Some repaired roads will be closed for the car traffic that to allow their use as ski and roller routes.
December 17, 2004 "Respublika" (The Republic) Newspaper, No 240 Bread but not a wood on the fields or the victory of a strategy of the Chairman of the Svisloch District Executive Committee!

(The fragment from the interview with Ivan Krupitza, Chairman of the Svisloch District Executive Committee)

- Belovezhskaya Pushcha is within the area of the Svisloch district but tourists go 300 kilometers from Grodno to Brest to visit it. Can the area earn itself using a unique natural site which is on the List of Natural and Cultural Heritage of UNESCO?

- We have long and good relationships with the administration of the reserve. This year the collective farm "Pagranichnik" ("Frontier guard") will become a structural division of this state body. In spite of the fact that the legal relations are still in progress, the future owner already helped us by engineering for agricultural works like sowing and gathering in the harvest and started to reconstruct a farm. Due to the help of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" over 15 kilometers of fences have been repaired in the local villages. The management of the National Park is interested of development of tourism in our area and a meeting is going to be soon where we will discuss this question in details.

Interview by Elena BERESNEVA
December 16, 2004 The Website "SOUZ-INFO" Belovezhskaya Pushcha celebrates 65-years anniversary on December 25

Belovezhskaya Pushcha whose anniversary is celebrated on December 25 was granted the status of the National park of Belarus 65 years ago, the director of the Park Nickolai Bambiza said on the eve of the meeting with Belarusian and Russian journalists.

He also told that the state program "Bison" is realizing in the Park where 320 bison is totaled now while about 620 bison live in Belarus. Nickolai Bambiza noted that the bark beetle is the main threat to the park now. It damaged the large areas of spruce forests.

Let's remind the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" includes the park, trade and tourist complex, wood processing shop and hunting ground. One thousand people are employees of the Park.
December 16, 2004 The Website "TUT.BY" with the reference to the Website "SOUZ-INFO" New Year's party with participation of Alexander Lukashenko in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

The New Year's party with participation of the president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko will take place on the 24th of December of this year in the Grandfather Frost's residence in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the vice-president of the Brest Executive Committee Leonid Tzuprik said to the SOUZ-INFO.

He noted that tens thousand letters from children all over Belarus were delivered to the Grandfather Frost's residence in 2004. Authors of the most interesting letters (40 letters from each region were selected) will have personal meetings with the president and the Grandfather Frost and will receive gifts from their hands.
December 16, 2004 "Sovetskaya Byelorussia" (The Soviet Byelorussia) Newspaper, No 237 Conservation of unique wood monuments

The archeological museum "Berestie" which was built on the Volynsk fortification of the Brest fortress in 1982 and used the same annalistic name of Brest is again under conservation, the second in its history. There was no precedent of conservation of a wooden monument of such huge size (the area of "Berestie" is 2,400 square meters) in the world practice till now therefore the decision was taken again to involve scientists from the Belarusian Technological University. They already fulfilled the first conservation of the ancient buildings in "Berestie" in 1970 - 1973.

By the way, it is not excluded that the team of Nickolai Tychina will come in Belovezhskaya Pushcha in the near future to conserve a wooden log house located there and constructed in 1837. There is also the village of Rozhkovka in the Kamenetz district. It is a marvel that the village escaped destruction after two world wars. Its old log houses were built in times of the Russian tsars and no nails were used!

Anatoly GURIN
December 15, 2004 "Sovetskaya Byelorussia" (The Soviet Byelorussia) Newspaper, No 237 Bison's health restoration

Belarus is already the second country in the world regarding the number of bison. Belarus leaved Germany behind and, it is not excluded, it will be the first in the coming years. About 600 wild bulls live in our forests while their number in Poland is two hundreds more. Approximately 3,300 bison live in 37 countries of our planet as the total.

These mighty animals were on the verge of extinction in our country in the beginning of 90's. Since animals occupied the small area (they lived in Belovezhskaya Pushcha), they began to be sick.

Many of them died while some of them were to be shot, the head of the Teriology laboratory of the Institute of Zoology of the National Academy of Sciences Peter Kozlo told. Then scientists took decision to settle the bison from Belovezhskaya Pushcha in new places all over Belarus. Now their number is twice more.

The border in Belovezhskaya Pushcha is going "to be open" for Polish bison soon. Experts think that it will bring the positive effect concerning the gene found of animals.

December 15, 2004 "Sovetskaya Byelorussia" (The Soviet Byelorussia) Newspaper, No 237 Meeting of Russian and Belarusian journalists

Brest. The meeting of Russian and Belarusian journalists with the heads of the Property Management Department of the President, the Ministry of Forestry and the National Park will take place in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Problems of conservation of flora and fauna of the main reserve of the country as well as of development of ecological tourism will be the subject for discussion.
December 14, 2004 Website News Service A matter of honour: head of the guard of the National Park leaves his job

Head of the guard of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", Mr Grichanik - not a thief or a loiterer or a drunkard, but a key professional and a former officer in the Brest department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs - has been forced to leave his post only after half a year of work in the park.

Over the last three years the HR department of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has seen a turnover of about a thousand workers. Still Mr Grichanik's dismissal can be viewed as a special event to some extent.

The sources in the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha say Mr Grichanik had to face many cases of law violations from the early days on his new post. The violations were so abundant that it looked as if they formed a whole system under cover of the park's self-imposed secret administrative regime. The matter is the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" suffers not only from unashamed locals who practice poaching, make moonshine and trespass the park's area. A well-established system of corruption in the park's administration also leaves a big impact on Belovezhskaya Pushcha's wildlife allowing officials in the administration organize illegal (or with infringements) hunting of game (including such Red Book species as bison), unauthorized fishing, etc. There were also instances when criminal and administrative cases initiated against the park's officials and workers, who were caught red-handed either for carrying of weapons without permit or other unlawful acts, were halted after "mediation" of the park's administration.

Local people believe it was Mr Grichanik's opposition to the system, his principal and professional position against it that ignited a conflict between him and director of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".

The conflict culminated on December 5, 2004 when the residence of Santa Claus caught fire over an improperly installed small stove in a room for the guard of the residence. According to an eyewitness account, repeated calls of the head of the guard to eliminate violations of fire safety rules had no result. In the end the violations caused the fire and the head of the guard was the one to blame. As for the things on the site of the fire, they were hastily removed before emergency services arrived.

At a special meeting of the administration Mr Grichanik dismissed all accusations against him and, as a true officer, left the room saying the whole case was simply "a matter of honour". It was easy to figure out of whose honour by looking at all those present in the room who were sitting stooping and paralyzed with fear. Local people say it has been the first instance over the last years when an upright man did not just agree to participate in the system of corruption set up in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", but also quit the system with dignity. This is why one should know about it.
December 14, 2004 "Vecherniy Minsk" (The Evening Minsk) Newspaper, No 279 Belovezhskaya Pushcha: hundred thousand visitors

Last Sunday, on December 12, employees of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" solemnly met a 100-thousandth visitor. He was... a pupil group from the secondary school No 15 of the city of Pinsk. The pupils came to Pushcha as the tourist group and even did not guess that employees of the Park do keep up attention towards each ticket sold these days, or to be more precise, these hours. Exactly a ticket for the tourist group proved to be happy.

The Grandfather Frost and Snegurochka (his Granddaughter) met and invited children to visit their possession at the residence. For the purpose to save this touching moment for long memory the owner of the fantastic estate presented a video player.

It is remarkable that the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has set up the record this year having accepted a 100,000-th visitor. The number of visitors in the previous years did not exceed the level of 60,000. By the way, one of these days the Park will celebrate one more holiday - 65 years from the date of its nomination.

Jury Svyatokum
December 13, 2004 Website News Service Presentation of the book "Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The resolution SOS " written by Valery Dranchuk

Валерий Дранчук
The presentation of the book "Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The resolution SOS" written by the famous Belarusian journalist and activist on protection of Belovezhskaya Pushcha Valery Dranchuk was taken place in the library of the village of Kamenyuki, the administrative centre of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", on 11th December. According to the reviewer, Professor and Doctor of Biology Alexei Mikulich, this book is "the unusual edition. This is the chronology of interrelations between Man and Nature illustrated by means of an example of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The author investigates "the moment of truth" getting to know both crux and force of the threat which all of us together bring today to the environment as the general and for Belovezhskaya Pushcha Forest as the particular. Valery Dranchuk succeeded to create the additional channel of ecological publicity and nature protection outlook in the country nearly from the "blank sheet". The book can be used as the educational supplies on ethics and morals in the field of ecological relations directed to protection of the national heritage of Belarus and Belovezhskaya Pushcha as of a symbol of the healthy nation to educate the aesthetic feelings. However it can take place only in the case if Authority and People will be together!"

The issue of this book is the event because very few books and well-founded literary issues about Belovezhskaya Pushcha have been published last decade, despite of its popularity and greatness. It especially pronounced if to compare this business with the Polish part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

The local inhabitants of Belovezhskaya Pushcha who worry about the future of their native land came to the meeting with the journalist. Although the cultural events are quite rare in Belovezhskaya Pushcha last years, however the listeners who participated in the book presentation's meeting were of small in numbers. The participants suggested that the different reasons can be explanation of this fact: maybe few people knew about this meeting, maybe the people were afraid to meet activists from the capital because of the extremely rigid attitude of the administration of the National Park towards the workers and locals, or maybe the majority of the people became already indifferent to their future and the future of their children.
December 10, 2004 The website "TUT.BY" The number of visitors in the Belarusian part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha is already almost the same as in the Polish part

The number of visitors in the Belarusian part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha is already almost the same as in the Polish Bialowieza National Park.

The administration of the Belarusian Reserve said to BelaPAN that they get ready to solemnly meet a 100-thousandth visitor (since the beginning of this year) in the middle of December. This number of tourists is common for the Polish colleagues already for a long time. The employees of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" explained the substantial increasing the tourists' visiting (50 - 60 thousands visitors on average came here annually in the previous years) by the building of the residence of the Belarusian Grandfather Frost which opened a door in the Park at the end of the last year. About 30 thousand people already visited the residence this year. Tourists came not only from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Representatives of other 33 countries were visitors of the Grandfather Frost's estate. The famous Governmental Residence "Viskuly" where the decision on the future of USSR was made in one's time are very popular for tourists as before. The number of fishermen and hunters including foreigners also showed the growth.

Visitors are especially numerous in Belovezhskaya Pushcha these coming New Year days and a winter holydays. About 1.5 thousand people come to meet the Grandfather Frost in some of these days.
December 03, 2004 "Zvyazda" (The Star) Newspaper, No 295Students of military academy write to the Grandfather Frost

Over 26,000 letters from the most surprised addresses were delivered to the Grandfather Frost since the year-existence of his estate in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the employee Vladimir Kislyak who responsible for the culture management of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"said.

About 250 letters are delivered to the estate of the Belarusian Grandfather Frost every day while their amount is increased to one thousand since the New Year's coming days. The pupils are the main senders. They mainly ask the Grandfather Frost to receive computer or mobil phone as a gift. There are also letters from students of collages and even of military academy.

The employees try to answer all the correspondence delivered in Belovezhskaya Pushcha; however this is not always possible because addresses of senders are absent sometimes. The letters where human pain, helpless and hopeless situations are described are of the special attention. The employees always try do not be restricted by the ordinary answers with kind wishes but to bring the possible help.