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Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika concerned over lack of forestry legislation

August 09, 2013, 10:00 UTC+3

Russian law has no definition of illegal logging

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MOSCOW, August 9 - On Thursday Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika on the subject of a large-scale inspection of the timber industry. Inspections have revealed gross violations. Moreover,  Russian officials support sale of timer to China. Chaika said the situation required changes to the current legislation.

“The inspections have demonstrated violations are severe,” Komsomolskaya Pravda quotes Yuri Chaika. “Over 50% of all violations are illegal logging, improper maintenance of woodland territories, and illegal use of the woods. Bookkeeping of the forest reserves and real estate registries is imperfect. The state woodland registry is not kept properly, there is no customs control; overdue payments for woodland use are not being collected,” he said. The prosecutor general added that only 3% of payments have been received, and the total overdue amount is already over eight billion roubles. Besides, local authorities continue abusing their powers. Prosecutors have revealed over 5,000 violations.

The prosecutor general is particularly concerned about the illegal logging using documents issued by municipal authorities, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reports. Initially, production was supposed to be used locally, but logging continued on an industrial scale. Finally, timber was exported, mostly to China. “Thus, we have prosecuted 600 persons; additionally, we have uncovered 200 concealed crimes pertaining to forestry,” Chaika said.

The prosecutor general emphasized changes to the current legislation are necessary and urged the government to finalize lumbering legislation. This law will force all  articipants to report volume of production, purchase, processing and sales of lumber, RBC daily reports. All stages of receiving, storing, processing and transportation of lumber will be registered. All data will be recorded to a unified automated information system. “Thus, we shall improve governmental control, stop illegal logging and prevent lumber of uknown origin from entering the market,” Chaika said. The prosecutor general suggested making addendums to the current Forest Code, to legally degine illegal logging as there is currently none, and define status of woods located on agricultural lands, their use and protection.

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