MOSCOW, June 20 (Itar-Tass) - Governor of the Moscow Region Sergei Shoigu interfered in one of the acutest public conflicts in the Moscow Region. On Tuesday he met with the defenders of the Tsagov forest in the Moscow regional town Zhukovsky, through which a federal highway is under construction. At the meeting Shoigu instructed to establish a system, particularly draft an efficient law on city and regional referenda, at which people will decide for themselves whether or not they need a building project.
The Novye Izvestia daily recalled that a highway is under construction through the Tsagov forest that is leading to the MAKS air show. This project evoked intensive public protests. The activists affirmed that the highway is under construction to give the forest for commercial construction and the woodcutting in the forest is done with numerous violations. Shoigu met with the activists at the forest, not far from the place, where the camp of the forest defenders was placed, but was removed by the OMON riot police on May 14.
The governor inspected the woodcutting place, and the activists passed to him a resolution of the geodesic expertise, which showed that not 12 hectares of forest were destroyed, as it was planned under the project, but 3.7 hectares more of woodlands.
Then, the newspaper reported that the governor had a meeting with the authorities of Zhukovsky and criticized the officials for the lack of dialogue with the society and instructed to punish those guilty in the foresaid violations. “Why you did not hold a referendum on this problem, did not consult with local residents and did not have public hearings. Why did you lead the situation to the deadlock when the governor had to come? What did you lack to implement the project without high public tensions?” Shoigu asked his subordinates.
The activists took the statements of the governor cautiously, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily noted. “Certainly, it is good that Sergei Shoigu came to us without any preparations and preliminary warnings,” defender of the Tsagov forest Andrei Nikolaenya said. “It is positive that he instructed to suspend the construction without necessary consultations with specialists. But he considers as specialists the Moscow road maintenance service and the Transport Ministry rather than ecologists. I am afraid that finally the opinion of officials will outweigh the concerns, which ecological experts voiced,” the activist concluded.
Shoigu interfered in one of the acutest public conflicts in the Moscow Region that is continuous city protests against the cutting of the Tsagov forest, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported. For an immediate solution to the problem (through his own visit) the governor instructed to establish a system, particularly draft an efficient law on city and regional referenda, at which people will decide for themselves whether or not they need a building project, because “the second forest comes after the first one, and it is just impossible to step on the same rack.”
Shoigu gave concrete instructions, the newspaper reported. First, the governor issued a decree to ban any construction along the highway in the Tsagov forest. Secondly, no more trees will be cut in the forest (one should recall that local residents complained that the woodcutting went far beyond the current project and still continues)/ Third, one of the largest forest nurseries will be laid out near Zhukovsky in the Moscow Region. Shoigu noted that trees will be raised in the nursery to plant them further in the territories, which were affected in the fires and from people. In the fourth place, the governor instructed to draft a bill on city and regional referenda.
At a meeting with the Zhukovsky authorities along with local authorities future road builders were present. Shoigu stated that he will issue a decree himself so that “no more trees will cut down there,” the RBC daily reported. The mayor was feeling to be punished that reiterated to the governor constantly, “Yes, we will do everything.” The officials were attempting to justify themselves for the governor, noting that “the forest does not exist in Zhukovsky in the legal form.” “So, it should have a legal status,” Shoigu responded.