“Dar” on Utrish – who owns it?

Feature story - 11 February, 2010
The story of the planned construction of the sports and recreation complex, that is associated with the Presidential Property Management Department, evokes a wide response in mass media and gathers like a snowball.

Game Preserve "Bolshoy Utrish"

On Jan 29th a feature on the above was published in the newspaper " The Moscow Times". We publish author's translation of the article.

On Jan 31st an article on this subject appeared in reputable German magazine "Der Spiegel" (translated is available on the website "Inopressa").

Today "Kommersant-Dengi" has issued an article "Unwrecked Russia", that reveals new details of the story.

The article quotes a letter of Mr Malyushin, Deputy Head of Presidential Property Department of the Russian Federation, who threatened everyone who will spread information about Department's relation to the construction in Utrish:

"Moreover, I am bringing it to your attention, that the Fund "Dar", the renter of the specified ground area of the forestry fund, addressed a number of organizations under the Main Directorate of the Capital Construction of the Presidential Property Management Department of the Russian Federation, and, taking into account its profound construction experience in Krasnodarsky Krai, asked for assistance in execution of the project on construction of recreation objects that would be a part of the fund "Dar"'s property."

Earlier, Head of Presidential Property Management Department gave an interview on the radio station "Echo Moskvy" and stated the following: "As far as I know, there is a private object on a small piece of land that is under execution of one of the numerous funds."

However, none of the officials ever gave explanations on the source of information that the initiator of Utrish construction is the Presidential Property Department; as well as why this information appeared in official documents; what is the origin of the project of sports and recreation complex that is supposed to be approved by Presidential Property Department. Before the verdict is in, second time this month arson was committed on the territory of the reserve. It obviously plays into hands of those who want to prove the necessity for construction of fire-prevention road and a resort to preserve unique Utrish forests.

Meanwhile, attempts to set on fire the reserve "Bolshoi Utrish" are laid down by campaigners of "Save Utrish". Protests are raised all over the country. Advocates of "Save Utrish" plan to hold a mass meeting in Moscow on the 20th.

"Regardless of who is a real originator of the construction plans for Utrish, existence of such plans only debases political image of Russian ultimate authority in the eyes of Russian and international public opinion", said Mikhail Kreyndlin, head of Greenpeace Russia program on specially protected natural areas. "In such situations, the best way out would be to make a decision as soon as possible on creation of a true natural reserve on Utrish without excluding the most valuable territory which is now meant for construction of sports and recreation complex and roads to it."

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