Krasnaya Polyana authorities trying to remove unwarranted village, allegedly for Gazprom ski slope; people protest

Krasnaya Polyana authorities trying to remove unwarranted village, allegedly for  Gazprom ski slope; people protest

The administration of the Sochi National Park has put a barrier on the road to the cabins and tried to dismantle unwarranted constructions, but the locals did not allow it.

Sochi is trying to clear the Aishkho pass from the cabins - small summerhouses of the locals. The owners are writing petitions to the president of the Russian Federation to prevent the demolition of almost 150 buildings with no construction permits. They associate the operation with Gazprom’s plans to expand its ski resort area. It is all about the mountain and tourist infrastructure (over 70 km of new ski slopes) that is being built in the Sochi national park.

The cabins appeared in Krasnaya Polyana in the 60s, when the government set a goal to increase the production of meat and milk. The Sochi authorities allowed the locals to pasture their livestock in the mountains in summer. Those who live in the houses today are not engaged in cattle breeding, but they offer a lot of the cabins to tourists for rent. Until 2017, when Nikolai Penkovsky left his post the Sochi National Park general director, the local authorities had not minded the hovels in the unique nature reserve.

In 2011, the cabin owners united and created Triumph LLC, entering into an agreement with the park authorities on the use of the Aishkho tourist route. The agreement entitled the owners to make tours along the Aishkho route with certain recreational areas in the specially protected natural zones of the Krasnaya Polyana district forestry. This made the town grow, while it was not becoming any cleaner with years.

Ministry of Natural Resources’ order on September 27, 2013, established a recreational zone of the national park on the territory of Krasnopolyansky forestry. Legislation allowed this type of construction and improvement of ecological excursion routes. However, the 2015 edition of the order made the site part of the specially protected zone, Kommersant said.

After the Ministry of Nature carried out an inspection, the Krasnodar Rosprirodnadzor (part of Ministry of Natural Resources) sent an order to the park’s acting director Boris Menshchikov asking him to eliminate violations of the environmental legislation. In the summer of this year, the Sochi National Park made a barrier on the road to the cabins and attracted a construction company to dismantle the unwarranted buildings and remove the garbage, but the work never started because the locals and tourists took to the streets and protested.

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