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  2. Residents of a historic village in Karelia prevented the felling of ancient pines on the shore of Lake Onega

Residents of a historic village in Karelia prevented the felling of ancient pines on the shore of Lake Onega

Alexander Gnetnev
Territory near the Bely Pesok beach
Photo from the Against the Lakes Grab Community on vk.com
Источник: vk.com/club357750
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In the Karelian village of Chyolmuzhi, Medvezhyegorsky District, the authorities gave a land plot on the shore of Lake Onega to developers. Ancient pines near the shoreland were at risk of felling. Local residents have come out in defense of their land and stopped the workers. The Against the Lakes Grab Community on vk.com reported this. The district administration told 7x7 that they were ready to meet the interests of the outraged villagers.

In 2016, the administration of the Medvezhyegorsky District of the Republic of Karelia sold the territory of the local beach, Bely Pesok (‘white sand’), which is located within the shoreline of Lake Onega where development is prohibited, into private hands. The new owner planned to use the plot for private housing projects and to cut down some trees.

Historically, the beach was a resting place for different generations of the village of Chyolmuzhi.

“This beach has always been a public place. Our parents rested there, then we did. Our grandchildren already rest there now. This land plot was sold,” Svetlana Gavrilova, a local resident, the chairman of the Chyolmuzhane ('the residents of Chyolmuzhi') Territorial Public Selector, told 7x7.

The Department of the Federal Agency for State Registration, Cadastre, and Cartography (Rosreestr) for the Republic of Karelia informed local residents that the Unified State Register of Taxpayers had not had any information about the coastline, designated water area, and protected shoreline belt of Lake Onega at the time of the territory’s transfer to private ownership.

“That is, it has been sold to them [the buyer of the land] without this information. This information was recorded into the state register only in 2018. And now this site is partially located within the coastal belt,” Gavrilova explained. She also stressed that the administration had not coordinated the sale of the land with the public.

When workers went to the beach to install electricity pylons on March 12, local residents came to prevent the felling of the ancient pines. The police were on the scene.

“They wanted to start installing electricity pylons there. And it was necessary to cut down the pines on the site to install them. And there is a picturesque pine forest there. All the people rose to defend it. Locals came to this shore. We decided not to let them cut anything there down — not a single tree,” said the informant.

She said that the workers had left the shore that day.

Maxim Antipov, the head of the administration of the Medvezhyegorsky district, told 7x7 that the government was ready to resolve the conflict with respect to the interests of local residents. Officials are planning to offer other plots to the owners of the disputed land.

“The administration is currently working on the withdrawal of land plots for municipal needs. There is already an advance consent of both owners. They agree that we will provide alternative plots in a place they ask for and they are interested in. That is, it is called the exchange of alternative sites for construction,” said Antipov.

He explained that the building plots were initially formed by the previous composition of the district administration. At that time, the land was tendered. According to Antipov, the concern of local residents was justified.

“The administration considered that the plots were located on the lands of settlements on the border with the forestry fund. But the foresters felt differently that they still ‘had broken into’ the forestry fund. I do not know who made the decision that one site had been moved even closer to the beach. There is such a beautiful meadow there. Thus, such a dispute actually arose. And the residents were outraged by the fact that these houses or cottages would appear in their favorite place,” he explained.

Antipov added that he considered the issue "settled".

“Yes, there will be a certain procedure indeed. But there will be no construction for private housing projects there,” the head of the administration concluded.

Chyolmuzhi is a historic village in Karelia. It is part of the Medvezhyegorsky District. The locality has just over 600 registered residents, but the permanent population is over 200 people.


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