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15.04.2009

Green Movement requires investigation and public assessment of illegal hunting by high-ranking officials in Altai

Conference ‘The Green Movement in Russia and ecological challenges’ (21-22 March 2009 in Moscow) adopted a resolution, suggested by Sibecocenter, on the problem of VIP illegal hunting.

 

About illegal hunting, carried out by persons of high official rank
Conference resolution
‘Green Movement in Russia and ecological challenges’
Moskovskaya oblast, 21-22 March 2009
We, the representatives of ecological non-governmental organizations and participants of the conference ‘Green Movement in Russia and ecological challenges’, discussed the numerous recent facts about illegal hunting by high-ranking officials and especially the tragic incident that took place during an illegal hunt on Altai argali on 9 January in the Republic of Altai.

With sorrow and shame we state that illegal hunting and cynical neglect of ethical and nature conservation norms by high-ranking officials of both Russian Federation and federal subjects have become ordinary practice in our country. The disgraceful behavior of law-enforcing and nature conservation state organs, closing eyes even on the most obvious violations, and of organs investigating violations, only hiding the criminals from responsibility, has became equally commonplace. It is significant that the first figures of the country, personally directing or confirming the actions of those officials, who, as is being shown, systematically break the law, ignore their duties and use their position for mercenary ends and organize or participate in illegal hunting, remain silent on the matter. The incidence in Altai was deservedly called ‘Altaigate’ by the media: it revealed many of the defects and internal ails that exist in the Russian system. 

Again it appeared that it is not the state but non-governmental organizations that truly stand for the interests of law and nature. Only due to their efforts and the consequent disturbance felt in the society brought the facts about illegal hunting into the public domain, despite officials’ efforts to silence them.

How is it possible to require citizens to obey the law, if at the same time high-ranking officials are violating them without being punished and even do it openly? It is impossible to expect the state system to carry out any functional nature conservation efforts as long as high-ranking officials are engaging in illegal hunting. How is it possible to believe in the sincerity of the first persons of the state, who claim the fight against corruption to be their primary task but who, at the same time, try to silence off the accusations of criminal activity directed at their officials?

We no longer wish to tolerate such state of affairs.

Illegal hunt carried out by state officials reveal the deep defects of the whole system of conservation of species included in the Red book, and also of use and protection of game species. Endless reorganization of responsible governmental organs, reallocation of authority from one department to another and from one level of governmental power to another, accompanied by increasing loss of staff and depletion of material-technical circumstances, have led to complete disintegration of the state system of game management and of protection and reproduction of game species. At present, there is no functioning system for protection of threatened Red book-listed species in Russia.

We, the participants of the conference ‘Green Movement in Russia and ecological challenges’, as citizens of the Russian Federation, and concerned about the systematic nihilism in relation to law, and the irresponsibility and the impunity of high-ranking state officials on all levels and branches of power, demand the following:

-    Public assessment by the President of the Russian Federation and the Chairmen of the Russian Government and the State Duma of the facts of illegal hunting by high-ranking officials.
-    Objective investigation by the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation and the Investigation Committee of the Public Prosecutor of the Russian Federation of facts of illegal hunting and of concealment of such crimes, related corruption and most of all, the incident of illegal hunting in Altai on 9 January 2009.  
-    Publication of results from investigations on illegal hunting committed by state officials.
-    System revision and actual recreation of the state system for the protection of species, listed in the Red book of the Russian Federation and/or the Red book of federal subjects, as well as revision of the system for the use and protection of game species.

We support the initiative of the Government of the Republic of Altai and the Ministry of Natural Resources about the creation of a national park ‘Sailyugem’ in the region of Kosh-Agach in the Republic of Altai. We call on all sides, participating in the creation of the park, to increase efforts to ensure that all primary territories of the Altai argali on the mountain ridge of Sailyugem will be included in the park.      

Adopted in the plenary session of the conference on 22 March 2009.
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16.06.2009
Re-establishment of forest protection service
Greenpeace Russia has started to collect signatures for a letter addressed to the Russian president, which demands re-establishment of state forest protection that would be a federal service, organizationally and financially independent from other state organs that deal with forest resource use, and would involve adequate number of staff (no less than 20 thousand inspectors). Such number of federal inspectors would mean operational groups of three people for each forest management unit in the regions of the country that are inhabited and accessible to transportation.
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01.06.2009
Tragedy in Altai: One more kill from the illegal hunt of argali
During an investigative expedition to the Sailyugem mountain range by Geblerov Ecological Society, the remains of one more killed argali (mountain sheep) was found, adding to the sad result of the illegal hunting trip that took place in the Altai on January 9 and ended with the helicopter crashing down and killing 7 people, including some high-ranking federal and local officials. During investigations on the south-west side of the mountain Chernaya on 28 May, the members of the Geblerov Society found the remains of a nine-year-old male mountain sheep (argali).
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08.05.2009
Finally some reaction!
After a three-month long confrontation between the civil society and the administration due to the investigation of illegal hunting of the Red-listed Altai argali by high-standing officials, the environmentalists’ case has finally seen a small victory.
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