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  2. Head of Komi Vladimir Uyba supports residents of one of the districts in a protest against logging for sand extraction

Head of Komi Vladimir Uyba supports residents of one of the districts in a protest against logging for sand extraction

Ivan Zhuravkov
The Vychegda Protection Committee’s community on vk.com
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Vladimir Uyba, the head of the Komi Republic, has instructed the republican Ministry of Natural Resources and the administration of the Syktyvdin District to stop possible logging for sand extraction in the municipality. More than 1.6 thousand local residents had signed a collective appeal with this request to the head of the region. They noted in the letter that due to the logging, people could lose the opportunity to pick berries and mushrooms, and this was the only source of income for some of them. Vladimir Uyba's video message was published on the regional government's page on vk.com.

It became known about the possible logging near the villages of Yazel and Kochchoyag of the Syktyvdin District of Komi in September. Activists of the Vychegda Protection Committee Movement noted that the Stroyprogresskom Company had planned to cut down the forest there in order to develop the Aprel’sky sand quarry, which would be located just 1 km from Yazel. According to the activists, forests within a radius of 3 km from villages have already been damaged by more than 50%. They added that cutting down new trees could lead to inundation of the area. In their opinion, logging can lead to local residents and visitors losing a place to pick up berries and mushrooms and even the only source of income for some of them.

Residents prepared an appeal to the head of the republic, in which they demanded moving logging and sand extraction at least 5–15 km from the settlements. 1.6 thousand people signed it. According to the activists, environmental communities, officials, and deputies of different levels supported their appeal. According to the residents, the Komi Ministry of Natural Resources and the Syktyvdin District Administration opposed the development. In particular, Deputy Chairman of the Komi Government Dmitry Samovarov met with activists. He instructed the Head of the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Republic Alexei Kuznetsov to study the issue of Aprel’sky quarry's development.

The head of the republic Vladimir Uyba received an appeal and supported the opponents of the logging. He spoke out the information provided by the Syktyvdin District Administration, which reported that the Stroyprogresskom Company had legally allocated part of the forest for the sand quarry development. However, Uyba considered the situation to be ambiguous and instructed the Ministry of Natural Resources to find another place for the company to develop a sand quarry. In his opinion, it is necessary to legally achieve the abolition of land acquisition near Yazel and Kochchoyag.

"I am strictly prohibiting logging near the settlements, at a distance of at least 10 kilometers. The forest is a breadwinner for the residents of the republic. The area around the settlements of Kochchoyag and Yazel should be preserved as a forest, so that people can go into the forest, pick up wild herbs, relax and just know that there is not a noisy quarry with equipment, but a living forest next to their house," said Vladimir Uyba.

The Komi Republic is one of the leading timber industry regions of Russia. Forest covers at least 30 million hectares in the region — 3.5% of the area of all forests in Russia, or about 50% of the forest area in the European North of Russia. Forests in Komi occupy 78% of the republic's territory. The republic is one of the forest regions of Russia, in the structure of which the most valuable dark coniferous fir forests predominate. There are conflicts between local residents and large companies because of logging in the region.

The last one occurred in August 2021, when residents of the village of Madmas in the Ust-Vym District found special dawks on trees in the forest, indicating the upcoming logging. The residents filed an appeal with the administration demanding canceling logging. Activists of the Vychegda Protection Committee found out that the residents of Madmas had been able to familiarize themselves with the plan of logging only when the forest areas had been already allocated for logging. Activists suggested that the head of the settlement, Sergei Kargin, had deliberately "withheld" the documents for the benefit of the company. After a public outcry, the company promised not to touch the allotment in one of the forest quarters closest to the village and to coordinate plots for logging elsewhere.


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