Criminal repressions against the Danube reserve: the thirteenth day.
November 2, 5 policemen led by investigator of the Danube transport Office of
Public Prosecutor presented the Danube biosphere reserve's administration the Decree
on institution proceedings of criminal case concerning the officials of the DBR and
withdrew 3 computers and 340 volumes of the documentation, including the
The actual reason of instituting these proceedings consists in firm disagreement
of Ukrainian National academy of sciences (of whose authority the DBR is currently
under), concerning with the civil-engineering project of construction a shipping
canal Danube - the Black sea through the Bystre estuary. The Ministry of transport -
lobbyist of this project - being almost all-mighted in Ukraine, has reckoned pressure
through fiscal bodies to be a decent way to use in controvercy.
The criminal case has considerably approached the realization of Mintrans's
purpose, having both paralised activity of the reserve and weakened it with fiscal
pressure. Now it directly threatens the very existence of the reservation
For example, because of the Danube reserve's specific character, it's officials,
while working on an island deep in the delta, can use the watch method only.
Therefore their work demands large amounts of fuel being now unattainable for the
reserve. If the blocking of the conserving service proceeds, tens of thousands ha of
the biosphere reserve's territory will in the nearest future appear totally
unprotected of poachers.
On the other hand, now judicial process concerning withdrawal from reserve all
arms and inland waters goes: the Vilcovo city council together with the Ministry of
transport's officers considers the reservoir grounds not belonging to the reserve
already. Such attitude increases threat of poaching still further. And the blocking
of activity doesn't allow the reserve to assert it's interests in court.
Following the Office of Public Prosecutor, other supervising organizations have
begun to press on reserve. November 11, department of state exchequer in Chilia
region obliged the reserve to pay the taxes urgently and to execute the budget. The
reserve is not capable to fulfill that, however, as far as it's activity is actually
stopped. Also, it is to be especially emphasized, that blocking the budget fulfilment
is prerogative of the special bodies only, to which Office of Public Prosecutor
(furthermore the transport one) just cannot be ascribed.
And there's still the urgent necessesity to pay the employees their wages, to
purchase fuel for heating the office, to pay telephone services, electric power and
November 11, the deputy chief of the Department of control-inspectioning
administration of the Odessa region V. Å. Rånzàk (analyzing withdrawn accounting
documents) required from the reserve's chief accountant to give explanations of the
very documents, what the chief accountant, naturally, can't comply with, having no
papers on her hands.
V. Å. Rånzàk said, that in case of default from cooperation with investigation
the reserve's chief accountant will be called for a week to a mission for working
with the documents. Thus, infringing the legislation the reserve's chief accountant,
being one of the witnesses, is put pressure upon, having had to testify against
herself. Besides, withdrawal the reserve's documents as was specified in the Act was
made to prevent their destruction. And if any document is lost when being worked with
by the reserve's employee the latter can easily be accused of loss...
IN ANY CASE, THE FORECASTS CONCERNING DEVELOPMENT OF THE SITUATION FOR RESERVE ARE
Presumably, or Office of Public Prosecutor rendering illegal pressure on the
reserve's service persons, now being witnesses and having no right to resort the
attorney, will find "infringement", and the "witnesses" will transform to "accused",
either other fiscal bodies will find out violations resulting from the forced break
of reserve's activity that is but again a direct consequence of withdrawal the
reserve's documentation and equipment. Actually this is what the state exchequer in
Chilia region doing. The the probability cannot be avoided of reserve having no
possibility to accomplish it's functions because of forced inactivity, in particular
struggling down the poaching is impossible with no constant guard. Also, the reserve
wil not be able to pay different services, what in no time will lead to stop it's
administration's activity. Moreover, the employees will begin to leave.
In any case, current reserve's administration will be replaced with that of
Mintrans would prefer, and the very problem with constructioning the canal will
In our opinion, OBJECTIVE DECISION ABOUT THE SITUATION AROUND THE DANUBE BIOSPHERE
RESERVE, AS WELL AS IT'S FUTURE, NOW DEPENDS FIRST OF ALL ON ACTIVE POSITION OF
The highest officials of Ukraine have already repeatedly proved readiness to
satisfy their interests through destructing the biosphere reserve, infringing the
national legislation and international obligations of a state and completely ignoring
the public opinion... Naturally, under the cover of democratic promises.
November 11, the director of the Danube biosphere reserve À. Voloshkevich lodged the
General prosecutor of Ukraine and the Prosequtor of the Odessa region a complaint
about the Decree on institution proceedings of criminal case against the DBR. The
criminal case being instituted with no reference to the criminal-remedial
legislation, À. Voloshkevich asked to close it.
Prepared by the Environmental group "Pechenegy"
The Ukrainian coalition "For the Wild Nature"
We are grateful for the help in search of the information O. Ìelån (Ecopravo-Lviv)
and for translation of materials M. Shevchenko ("Green Future", Kiev) and
O. Zakharova (International Socio-ecological Union).
TECHNICAL ACCIDENT IN DANUBE RESERVE - THE PTICHYA (PTASHINAYA) SPIT SUFFERED AGAIN
Technical accident happened during the continued navigable canal construction through
Bystroe estuary in the Danube reserve. Environmentalists warned about the danger of
accidents, but officials were deaf to protests and warnings.
First strong autumn storm at November 10 night turned over German sand sucker
platform M-28 belonging to Moebius and threw it onto Ptichya (Ptashinaya) Spit, which
is about 700 m away from the Bystroye estuary. The sand sucker silt-sucking pipes
were also thrown over the spit - about 1 km 300 m from Bystroe estuary. On November
12 and 13 canal construction workers tried to approach the spit using two barges with
excavators. Excavators were deepening the sea bottom, as was very shallow. However,
they did not succeed.
On November 16 barges approached the spit for about 80 m and tried to use ropes
to get the pipes off the spit.
These works were not agreed with the Danube reserve administration, despite the
fact that the works are exceeding the anthropogenic zone borders.
Fortunately, this time no oil or fuel spill happened. However, the whole
situation shows how dangerous is this construction for fragile delta ecosystems.
As one may recall, the Ptashinaya (the Bird) spit has already suffered in summer -
three bird colonies perished because of the construction nearby. Birds left their
nests scared by the construction noise.
The reserve itself is in catastrophic situation - Ministry of Transport of
Ukraine heavily lobbies for more changes in the reserve zoning - the Bystroye estuary
factual exclusion from the reserve was not enough for the almighty Ministry and their
The Transport Prosecutors office raided the reserve and took away all the documents
needed for every day work, including fuel procurement and use. Currently there is a
problem for rangers to sail out and protect the remaining reserve territory.
Different fiscal entities are pressing the reserve, which is almost helpless without
International Socio-Ecological Union, Ukrainian Coalition for Wild Nature
already demanded to stop the rights and law abuse in Ukraine. I international
intervention in the situation is urgently needed, or present corrupt bureaucrats and
greedy business people will finally destroy the real Danube reserve.
Pictures of pipes on the spit are available.
Danube Biosphere Nature Reserve: Director. Alexander Voloshkevich;
Ph. \fax: (04843) 4-46-19 or 3-11-95; firstname.lastname@example.org
International Socio-ecological Union:
Olga Zakharova email@example.com
Prepared by O. Zakharova (International Socio-ecological Union)
more about the problem