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, 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:
“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.”
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.