Ukrainian Forest At Risk

Dear Readers:

I saw this piece in PolitNavigator.  It covers a press conference given by Vladimir (Volodymyr) Boreiko.   Boreiko is the Director of the Kiev Ecology Center, created in 1989 with the mission of expanding the areas of protected natural resources, such as forests, throughout the Ukraine as well as Belorussia.

Boreiko and his colleagues fight on behalf of Mother Nature.

Boreiko, born in 1958, is a biologist and specialist in ecology.  At his press conference in Kiev he sounded the alarm about the stripping of the Carpathian forests on the Ukrainian side of the border.  “We have been taking stationary photographs from the same place every year,” the ecologist narrated.  “In 2010 everything was still green.  In 2012 [the forests] were half-bald; and in 2015-2016 practically everything has been cut down.  In the state-protected forests of Ukraine every year over a million cubic meters of lumber is cut down, covering a territory of 44,000 hectares.  I want everybody to understand, over 1.4 million cubes of lumber are exported, of which over a million is from the [so-called] state-protected forests.  A horrible destruction [of the forests] is taking place.

“The situation is catastrophic.  We are in danger of losing the Ukrainian forest, in which we are accustomed to collect mushrooms and berries, and enjoy our picnics.”

Boreiko turns his criticism onto a specific individual, a person named Kristina Yushkevych.  Yushkevych, a young attractive blonde (born in 1982) graduated from law school in 2006.  Her career then turned in an agrarian direction as she worked in several government agencies dealing with agrarian and forestry issues.  From 2011 to 2015 Kristina worked as the Deputy Director of the Forestry Department.  Earlier this year she was promoted as Director, which is why Boreiko holds her accountable for the ongoing catastrophe:

Yushkevych is responsible for preserving Ukraine’s forests.

“The situation worsened when, after a type of beauty contest, a certain Kristina Yushkevych was picked to head up the agency.  Our press PR’s her as the so-called Defender of the Forests.  But this is pure demagoguery.  In fact, this person is a lawyer by training.  She never worked in the Forest business, and she relates to it with cynicism.  Her task is to cut down and sell as much lumber as possible.”

The Ukrainian forest, as it used to be

I don’t know if Boreiko’s criticisms of Yushkevych are fair, or not.  A few arcticles in the press seem to bear out Boreiko’s assertion that Yushkevych is either cynical or, perhaps, impotent.  For example, in this piece, Yushkevych describes how government officials are impotent to enter certain sectors of the Carpathian forests, in order to stop the work of the lumberjacks.  “Our access to this zone is limited,” Kristina declares.  “This zone is on the territory of our Uzhgorod, Tarichinsky and Velikoberezyansky leskhozy [state-owned lumber collectives], but it is not accessible to our attempts to monitor [violations]….”

Realistically, given that the Ukrainian economy is in freefall, it is sadly logical and even inevitable, that the nation’s few remaining assets are being stripped at a feverish pace.  People like Boreiko can warn of catastrophe; and people like Yushkevych, even giving her the benefit of the doubt that she means well, have little power to stop the ongoing economic catastrophe and Death of a Nation.  In a way, this was all pre-ordained from the moment Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union.  It didn’t have to be this way.  But the Ukrainians have proved, as a people, that they are unable to form a competent government or select good leaders to manage their common wealth and inheritance which they received.

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7 Responses to Ukrainian Forest At Risk

  1. Mao Cheng Ji says:

    Thanks for this, but you’re missing the most amazing part of the story. EU neoliberalism in action:

    Brussels demands wood

    A new act prohibiting the export of raw wood adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament in the spring last year was supposed to alleviate the situation. In accordance with the legislation, the export of unprocessed wood was prohibited for ten years. The ban came into force on November 1st, 2015 and covered all tree species except for pine trees, for which a prohibition will take effect on January 1st, 2017. Pine wood is currently making up the majority of Ukrainian wood exports.

    Meanwhile, Brussels is demanding from Ukraine an urgent liberalization of the rules on the export of wood. In the middle of May, the journal Delo has revealed that Brussels made the provision of macroeconomic aid conditional on Ukraine’s withdrawal from the ban on the export of raw wood.

    “Ukraine must settle the matter of raw wood trade as soon as possible, because the introduced ban on its export blocks the receipt of the second and third tranche of EU macroeconomic aid with a total value of EUR1.2bn euro. The removal of this impediment in the sphere of trade is an essential condition for the continued implementation of the third EU macroeconomic aid program in Ukraine, as well as the further liberalization of trade with the European Union,” the Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Nataliya Mykolska, was quoted as saying in Delo.

    The Europeans see the ban on the export of raw wood from Ukraine as a violation of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement. They believe that by introducing a moratorium, Ukraine imposed trade barriers, revealed the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze in the presidential television station Channel 5. She also informed that the government was working on resolving the issue.


  2. Mao Cheng Ji says:

    …awaiting moderation…


    • yalensis says:

      Sorry, Mao! I don’t moderate you, please blame WordPress, not me!


      • Mao Cheng Ji says:

        Oh, I know, I know. I thought maybe it was moderated because of the link, and one without links would get through. But no.


        • yalensis says:

          I don’t think it was the link. Did you start using a new email address?
          I keep the WordPress default settings, by which a brand new email address gets “moderated” the first time it is encountered.
          I guess that saves me from waking up one morning and finding to my horror that my blog has been flooded with porn!


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