2012 / 07 / 09

Karelia’s Leader Asked to Investigate Allegations That the Creation of the Ladoga Skerries National Park Is Illegal and Will Lead to the Loss of Property Rights and Other Rights for Residents of Three Northern Priladozhe Regions

On July 10, a group of residents from the Lakhdenpokh’ya, Sortavala, and Pitkyaranta regions and the city of Petrozavodsk sent a letter to Karelia’s leader, Alexander Khudilainen, expressing indignation over the propagandist activities of an initiative group of opponents of the creation of the Ladoga Skerries National Park, who recently organized a meeting in Sortavala. As stated in the appeal to the governor, the activities of this group and the claims of its members are an insult to those residents of Northern Priladozhe who last year took part in public discussions and expressed their opinions on the plans for the national park.

According to the authors of the letter, the group of opponents of the Ladoga Skerries National Park are blatantly misinforming Northern Priladozhe residents by convincing them that the creation of the national park could lead to their losing their homes, agricultural fields, and gardens, as well as the right to gather mushrooms and berries and use motor boats in the Ladoga Skerries. The appeal to Karelia’s leader stated that “This propaganda could foster hatred, animosity, and social unrest and might be a violation of the Russian Constitution as defined in the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and laws on extremist activities. We firmly believe that the creation of the national park in Northern Priladozhe is an important step in the development and preservation of the area. While the park is not the only instrument of social-economic development, it is a very important one. It will promote both economic growth and the preservation of the natural resources and the scenic and historic-cultural assets of Northern Priladozhe.”

The representatives from communities in the Lakhdenpokh’ya, Sortavala, and Pitkyaranta regions and the city of Petrozavodsk have asked Alexander Khudilainen to conduct a judicial review into the main allegations of the group Opponents of the National Park (city of Sortavala). Their allegations have been spread through the media, on the Internet, and in meetings in which they have made the accusation that the creation of the Ladoga Skerries National Park is illegal and a threat to property and other rights of the citizens of three Northern Priladozhe regions. They also asked the governor to take control over all matters concerning the establishment of and changes to the boundaries of the populated areas of the Lakhdenpokh’ya, Sortavala, and Pitkyaranta regions in order to stop various types of speculation and prevent the cover-up of corrupt land deals that may have previously taken place. Moreover, Alexander Khudilainen was asked to use the powers of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Republic of Karelia, the republic’s Public Prosecutor’s Office, and Rosprirodnadzor RK (the Federal Service for the Oversight of Natural Resources for the Republic of Karelia) to verify compliance with the rules for allocating land parcels in the Sortavala region to make sure that there are no violations of the rules for using forest reserve lands in the areas where the Ladoga Skerries National Park will be created.

Among those who signed the appeal to the governor are Igor Borisov, member of the Russian Geographic Society and the initiative group Save the Ladoga Skerries (Sortavala); Vladimir Sokolov, member of the Task Force for Preparing the Draft Proposals for Creating the Ladoga Skerries National Park (the government of the Republic of Karelia); Alexander Markovsky, director of the Karelia Regional Nature Conservancy SPOK; Sergei Makovsky, deputy of the Lakhdenpokh’ya Municipal District Council; Sergei Gurvich, chairman of the Karelia Regional Speleological Research Council Kolos; Dmitriy Rybakov, coordinator of the KROO Association of Karelia Greens and member of the Public Environmental Council of the government of the Republic of Karelia; and others.

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