By CHV.TV Staff, Chernivtsi, Ukraine
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Today, during the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first train from Lviv to Ivano-Frankivsk, local artist Taras Polataiko (Chernivtsi–Kolomyya) stood in a one-man picket protest against deforestation.
According to the artist, every day 100 train cars pass through the [Chernivtsi] local station, carrying [illegally] logged wood from the Carpathian Mountains. Deforestation is resulting in loss of water in the mountains and an increase in landslides.
However, local law enforcement agencies did not like this protest. The activist says, “There were 10 policemen, who did not allow me to stand here because I was ‘holding some kind of rally.’ I’m not holding a rally, I’m just a regular person, a citizen of Ukraine, who is just standing here.” [Ed: Polataiko also writes on his Facebook page that the police told him he “had a suspicious backpack” and suggested to “go talk outside”].
However, as was noted by Ivan Hrunyk, the Acting Head of the regional branch of the “Lviv Railway” public joint-stock company Ukrainska Zaliznytsia [PJSC “Ukrzaliznytsia”], the railroad is not responsible for the parties engaged in logging: “We only provide transportation. The responsibility rests with the Customs authorities and the Forestry Service, who are actually carrying out the logging.”
To that, protestor Taras Polataiko said: then apparently, no one is responsible for the destruction of the forests, and so the logging of the Carpathians continues. “It’s the prosecutors’ job to find the perpetrators and prosecute them for this. But I care about the problem! I can clearly see [the timber], leaving on these trains. The railway company “Ukrzaliznytsia” is exporting the timber! I’m doing what’s logical – protesting against the fact that “Ukrzaliznytsya” is exporting the Carpathians,” said Polataiko.
The activist added that he was surprised by the actions of the railway station personnel, who, despite the fact that he showed his accreditation as a journalist, did not allow him to reach his colleagues and twisted his arms. [Ed: Polataiko also writes on his Facebook page that they unexpectedly roughed him up and beat him.]
Video (in Ukrainian) where Taras Polataiko talks about the deforestation and drying of the Carpathian mountains and the rationale of his protest (as written in above article).