Some land from the territory of the Crimean and Yalta mountain-forest reserves has been withdrawn for the construction of government dachas. The status of the land, the area of which is equivalent to all suburban forests in Kyiv, has been changed from protected to recreational one. The Cape Martyan Reserve and 11 other national nature reserves have been revoked. This is the conclusion made by EPL environmental scientists regarding the new decision of the government of the Russian Federation on the reserves of the annexed Crimea.
As we reported earlier, in 2015 the Crimean Natural Reserve was transferred to the Federal Budget Office “Complex Crimea”, which is part of the management office of the President of the Russian Federation.1 Thus, the reserve was transformed into a state entity for elite hunting, which is in fact is a return to the Soviet regime, the restoration of a special Safari, for the creation of which 57 years ago the reserve was eliminated.
After the annexation of Crimea, the self-proclaimed Crimean authorities refused to transfer Crimean protected areas to the subordination of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia, stressing that they plan to inventory and review their list. First of all, it was caused by the desire of Aksionov’s team to implement the long-standing intention to seize 700 hectares of the Yalta Mountain-Forest Reserve, which failed in the times of Ukrainian authorities. However, the “need” to comply with federal legislation of the Russian Federation forced the self-proclaimed Crimean “authorities” to pass the reserves into federal subordination of the Ministry of Environment of the Russian Federation. After transfer of lands to federal subordination, some of the protected areas were withdrawn from the reserve.
On September 13, 2018, the government of the Russian Federation issued the resolution No. 1091 “On the establishment of protected areas of federal significance in the territory of the Republic of Crimea”. This document in the framework of the legislation of the Russian Federation creates new protected areas of federal significance in the territory of Crimea. These are Kazantip, Opuk, Yalta and Karadag Reserves, the Swan Islands Reserve, the Crimean National Park, and the Karkinitsky and Small Phyllophora Fields state reserves. What conclusions can be drawn from this document?
1. The area of the Yalta Mountain-Forest Reserve is reduced from 14523 to 14459 hectares, ie by 36.5 hectares.
2. The Cape Martyan Reserve does not exist any longer.
3. The former Crimean Natural Reserve (44175,5), created back in 1918, has now been canceled and the Swans Islands Reserve (9612 ha) and the Crimean National Park (34653,5) have been created in its place. This means that 89.5 hectares were lost, and 34653.5 hectares were transferred to a category with considerably weaker protection regime. In other words, 89.5 hectares were withdrawn in order to arrange Putin’s government cottage, and the surrounding areas were reorganized so as to be able to breed ungulates and shoot them.
4. Among the preserves and natural monuments of national importance in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the occupation authorities by their new decision confirmed the protection status only for Karkinsky and Small Phyllophora Fields reserves located in the water area bordering Ukraine. The remaining 11 nature reserves and natural monuments of national importance are not confirmed (8450.7).
The Crimean Reserve is actually the first nature reserve in Ukraine. For the first time it was created by the Crimean bourgeois-democratic government in March 1918. He was called “Crimean national reserve“. In 1923 it was re-established as the Crimean State Reserve. However, in 1957, the reserve was reorganized into the Crimean state protection and hunting unit for Khrushchev’s and Brezhnev’s private hunting and the reception of foreign guests. The status of a reserve was restored only in 1991.
Oleksiy Vasyliuk, EPL environmental scientist
Olena Kravchenko, EPL director
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