Vitsebsk: public hearing is over, the questions remain

2015 2015-03-16T15:55:50+0300 2015-03-16T15:55:50+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”


March 13, a public hearing concerningthe felling of four trees and two lilac bushes near the Vitsebsk regional library named after Lenin was held in Vitsebsk. The hearing was held outdoors and was attended by about 30 people.

The hearing has provoked a wide resonance and many questions among Vitsebskers. First of all, it remains unclear who has organized the event. The coordinator of the public association “Ecoproject” Halina Pilavets stated that it had been organized by social activists and also referred to the Vitsebsk City Executive Committee.

The action participants were watched by about 20 policemen including Aliaksandr Kalinouski, chair of the public order division of the police department of the Vitsebsk Regional Executive Committee. Such a vigilant attention of the police can be explained by the extremely negative attitude of Vitsebsk residents to destruction of green spaces in the city.

Vitsebskers expressed their utmost dissent in 2009, during the reconstruction of the Peramoha Square on order of the then head of Vitsebsk Regional Executive Committee Aliaksandr Kosinets. During this reconstruction, the authorities destroyed a park with rare species of trees. During the several years of “reconstruction” citizens kept reproaching the authorities for the liquidated green zone and haven't forgotten this case even now, when the whole square has been paved with
tiles and arborvitae trees have been planted along the perimeter. It's interesting that the trees had to be planted twice, as most of those planted during the first time didn't survive.

The people stated that the destruction of green spaces continued not far from the library – near the restaurant "Zhuravinka". However, neither “Ecoproject”, nor the city executive committee have held any public hearings on it. By the way, Vitsebskers dared to voice their criticism after making sure that nobody would put down their surnames. It's worth noting that on the eve of the hearing the official website of the executive committee published the announcement that people will be admitted to the hearing only after showing their passports. This circumstance withheld many people from taking part in this event, the more that it was held in an inconvenient time – at 10 a.m. in the morning on a working day.

One of the participants voiced the opinion
supported by many participants of the hearing: the authorities often call “beautification” felling old trees and planting new ones, for which finances are spent, instead of keeping the trees which have been planted already. The results of the hearing remain unclear, too. There was no voting, no documents were adopted as a result – the hearings seems to have been carried out just for show.


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