On November 26, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Karelia decided to revoke the permit of the city administration to cut down trees in the Kamenny Bor (‘Stone Forest’) Park. They were cut down in early 2020 for the construction of a kindergarten and a sports and recreation center.
In a lawsuit to the Petrozavodsk Court, filed by the park's defenders on February 25, they asked to confirm that felling of trees was illegal. At first, the residents lost the case, but the court of appeal sided with them and remitted the matter for a fresh trial. The claim was sustained in August.
Lawyer Olga Tuzhikova, who represents the residents before the court, did not think at that time that the administration of Petrozavodsk would take an appeal, since irregularities associated with the issuance of the permit were obvious. However, the city authorities decided to challenge this decision. The last hearing was held on November 26 in the Supreme Court of Karelia. The court revoked the permit to cut down the trees, having declared it illegal.
“Next, we are going to prepare a claim to recognize the fact of cutting down the trees illegal and obligate the city administration to return the sites to the state they were in. <...> We do not know what will happen, but we need to try and protect our rights,” Olga Tuzhikova said.
The court is currently considering a claim to recognize the permit for the construction of the kindergarten illegal.
After felling of trees began in the park, protests were held in the spring and summer of 2020. A private developer refused the land allocated for the construction of a sports and recreation center. In March 2020, the park's defenders filed a lawsuit against the actions of the city administration, which allocated the plot for the kindergarten.
An inspection of the Prosecutor's office in the spring of 2020 showed that the developer — TechExpert LLC (Moscow) — misappropriated a plot in the park with an area of 580 m2.
In June 2020, the Supreme Court of Karelia fulfilled the demand of activists and recognized the allocation of a land plot from the recreation zone of the park for the construction of the kindergarten illegal. A month later, residents held one-person pickets because the developer did not stop works. In September, the court of appeal in St. Petersburg sided with the administration of Petrozavodsk and overturned the judgement of the Supreme Court of Karelia.