Lesnaja Gazeta (Forestry Gazette) Date: 15 July 2000
This is a quotation from a resolution of the President of the RF V. Putin on the address by the Head of the Agrarian Deputy Group N.M. Kharitonov concerning the abolishment of the federal Forest Service of Russia.
The well-known public leader reminds that in Russia “it is one of a few, if not the last, structures, that discharged its civil obligations conscientiously and honestly enough. At last decade it did not loose its management units, but strengthened them. It did not move to commercial industrial activities, on the contrary, in compliance with Russian legislation, it removed units that dealt with industrial cuttings and wood processing from its structure. Managers and experts of the Federal Forest Service of Russia directed much effort toward development of Basics of Forest Legislation and the Forest Code of the RF. Great pains were taken by them to assert in the Constitutional Court the legally adopted federal property right on forests from the RF Subjects separatist trends.”
The address runs as follows: “I, as a person who is directly connected with the issues of agriculture and forestry, clearly understand that a law can not operate without “driving belts.” It is difficult to overestimate the fact that in support to the Forest Code forest managers initiated the adoption of about 20 legal documents by the Government of the RF and more than 400 legal documents by the RF Subjects on the issues of forest management. It makes possible to develop complex and specific relations of forest management bodies and numerous stakeholders, the number of which is tens of thousands only in Siberia.
The core of relations with stakeholders is property and monetary relations on management of forest that is federal property. The relations are formed up not only on the legislative basis of the last decade, but also on the basis of centuries-old forestry traditions”.
The Deputy pursues: “When I was abroad I paid my attention to the fact that even in countries where forests can be private property, this is precisely the State which determines management policy for these forests through special federal power institutions (the USA, Finland, etc.)
The result of recent merge of Ministry for Geology and Ministry for Water Management provokes an explicit increase in awareness of situation in water industry (leakage of experts, loss of federal property right on hydraulic constructions and so on.)
The forest management is a ramified network of management bodies of different levels in each region. The actions by Ministry for Natural Resources of the RF that launched total reorganization, the attempt to transfer the Avialesookhrana to Ministry for Extraordinary Situations of Russia, abolishment of forest management bodies in Subjects of the RF are destructive. They raised perplexity and indignation in the society, the State Duma and the Council of Federation that turn into repeated appeals to you, as the President of the RF.
It is not too late to preserve the structure, which is rightful possession of the Russian Federation and its people, because it will be far more costly to raise it from ashes later. Unfortunately, it happened many times in Russia before.”
N.M. Kharitonov made an insistent request to consider again the opportunity for preservation of an independent forest management body in the system of federal executive bodies.
The address runs as follows: “I think that the other variant is possible. It is to organize the Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry on the basis of the Ministry for Agriculture and the Federal Forest Service of Russia.“
It was the precisely proposal, which interested the President. The following is the complete text of his resolution on the address of the Head of the Agrarian Deputy Group: “To M.M. Kasianov. Please consider the proposals by M. Kharitonov on page 3 of his letter. It might be realized as a compromise variant. Think it over. Give a report. V. Putin. 29|06|2000.”
As we have learned, at June 6, 2000 the Government Decree of the RF (# 495) was issued, according to which the Rosleskhoz was turned in a body in the structure of Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation.
Lesnaja Gazeta (Forestry Gazette) 15 July 2000
By V. Markov
“The Ministry of Natural Resources: Readiness Number One.”
At ITAR-TASS the Minister of Natural Resources B.A. Yatzkevich has led his second press conference devoted to the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation on transfer the functions of the Rosleskhoz and the State Committee on Environment to the Ministry of Natural Resources. This Decree turned out to be totally unexpected by the abolished agencies. The reaction on it was very impetuous. Previously alienated conservation agencies closed the ranks, NGOs raised up their voices. The tension of the struggle is higher only in opposition of Senators to the Presidential Administration and the State Duma.
In spite of the struggle, the process has been launched. As B.A. Yatzkevich informed, the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia had already developed the management structure for new conditions.
The Ministers speech at the press conference was brief and he devoted most of the time to answers to questions. However, he stated his positions to the readers of our newspaper in the interview that was published in June. By the way, the larger part of the questions that are of interest to journalists was worded at the previous press conference and the Minister just clarified some remained uncertainties and answered to the new questions.
He stressed one more time his resoluteness to carry out the Presidents Decree, and as he gave to understand, the mere idea that the leader of the country would change his own decision was unpleasant to him. His answer to the question that was interesting to many people, who personally initiated this decision, was a short one: “Life.” That answer did not satisfied everybody, and Yatzkevich had to say about imperfection of the forest management system, its low economic effectiveness, large specific expenditures for keeping the staff, not enough attention paid to conservation of “a green friend.” “You made fuss about all of these.” This was roughly his answer to the question, asked by one of his opponents a writer.
The issue of the ecological expertise is considered to be solved. It will be independent. A Government Decree will determine the Head of it.
Mr. Yatzkevich called disinformation the statement that the Ministry of Natural Resources was not going to address the problem of forest fires seriously and provided the facts against that opinion.
There was a discussion about the proposal made by Mr. Kharitonov, an Agrarian, to merge federal forests and forests of the agricultural sector under jurisdiction of one Ministry. Mr. Yatzkevich conceders this grouping unjustified because of the small size of forests that belongs to the agricultural sector. He stressed, that it was the easiest way to kill any idea by proposition of an alternative. “Our answer to Mr. Kharitonovs proposal is negative.” The Ministers answer to the statement that the leaders of the regions supported the status quo was that he was aware of the contrary opinions. Nobody wants nature to suffer; everybody supports the sustainable use of natural resources. But, unfortunately, there are no examples of an ideal solution for the problem of interaction of people and environment yet.