After second performance of the scandalous TV show devoted to illegal logging and timber business in Primorye last week on the Russian channel, where head of the regional Forest service Peter Diyuk stated that all the timber market players deal with illegal timber here, special brigade of Russian Ministry of Interior (Militia) stopped operations of all timber yards around town of Dalnerechensk. Minister Rashid Nurgaliev thus decided to close the key channel of illegal timber which, by the lot of official and non government reports, is outsourcing mainly from Dalnerechensk system of timber yards and customs checkpoints.

By the information, received by NGO BROC from reliable non official sources and not refuted by prosecutors and other law enforcement agencies, militia from Moscow found a lot of timber without appropriate documents at the all yards there and thus demonstrated that local law enforcement agencies in Primorye are either completely corrupted or not efficient at all in their duty to control timber legality in the export process. The point is that Dalnerechensk yards transfer from timber trucks to railroad for Chinese Suifenhe more than 2 million cu meters of raw logs annually, and since forest inspection was practically cancelled by Putin administration in early 2000-th, none knows how much it is growing each year.

All the officials on municipal, Primorye territorial and Far Eastern regional level of militia say that operational activities are continued and there is no official statement yet. In the meanwhile, by the Chairman of Primorye Association of timber producers and exporters Paul Korchagin, national militia brigade did not do it’s work accurately, did not try to separate really criminal timber from the normal and legal – regular style of alarm campaigns in Russia. And thus they essentially suppressed small community based timber business in the set of the most forest rich municipalities of Primorye, Thanks to this criminalized timber concerned activities, initiated in the middle 1990 – th by Chinese wholesalers and keeping the most of illegal profit on the territory, our forest dependent villages succeeded to survive in the most hard times, when all the agriculture and NTFP harvesting industry failed and tens thousands Russian villages had gone forever.

It is obvious that Peter Diyuk announced something well known, which was in mass media a hot point during 15 years and had been presented to the government many times. But it is not obvious – how our Primorye law enforcement officials will explain their zero efficiency in the fighting this illegal timber business during many years, although they perfectly know all the players, places and models of illegal timber legalization. And, the more interesting, what will be the final result of this Moscow attack on the regional criminal economy, which is working by the perfectly organized Putin;s vertical of legal and illegal payments to both state and criminal budgets.

By Anatoly Lebedev

NGO BROC, Vladivostok