Head of the forestry agency of Buryatia gave Baikal forest for felling, ICR
The UNESCO World Heritage Site suffered irreparable harm.
The ICR Directorate for Buryatia initiated a criminal case against the head of the local forestry agency, Alexander Martynov, over abuse of office with grave consequences (section “c” of part 3 of Article 286 CCRF). Investigators and officers of the economic and anti-corruption police conducted searches at the official’s workplace. Martynov complained of a surge in pressure, as a result of which was taken to hospital.
According to the investigation, on December 7, 2018, Martynov, handed over a 47.7-hectare land plot to a mining company under a lease agreement to carry out geological exploration and gold mining, although the plot is located in the ecological zone of the Baikal natural territory. Clear tree cutting is prohibited in the area, however, on February 28, 2019, Martynov approved the tenant’s project, which included deforestation on an area of 31.5 hectares and the creation of a quarry.
A third of the agreed area has already been cut down as of now, the ICR’s Investigative Directorate for Buryatia reported. The actions of Martynov and the mining company caused damage to the state amounting to more than 11.5 million rubles ($ 182,000). The unique ecosystem of Lake Baikal suffered irreparable harm.