Socio-ecological Union

The Newsletter of
the Socio-Ecological Union
A Center for Coordination
and Information

Moscow, Russia -- Issue 6 (40), March, 2003

SEU Times is a newsletter devoted to environmental news, events, NGO work within former Soviet Union territory. Currently it is mailed out on special occasions.

MORE NEWS IN ENGLISH FROM SEU-TERRITORY are available on Ecoport - green news project English version at






  We just have learned that Farid Tukhbatullin, Turkmen ecologist trial was scheduled for March 4. The true reason for his arrest was participation in a meeting organized by the IHF and Memorial in November where human rights activists discussed the current human rights situation in Turkmenistan. More info on the case is at
  On March 3 Jakob Gijsbert de Hoop Scheffer, OSCE Chairman in office, will come to Ashgabat to meet Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan President. It is very important that the issue of Farid's case is raised during this meeting. So please, send URGENT letters to OSCE asking Mr. de Hoop Scheffer to talk to President Niyazov about the case and unjust investigation.

  To: Jakob Gijsbert de Hoop Scheffer Chairman-in-Office Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

  Dear Mr. De Hoop Scheffer,
  I am writing on the eve of your trip to Ashgabat to ask you to urge President Saparmurat Niazov to promptly and unconditionally release environmental activist Farid Tukhbatullin, who works for Dashogus Ecological Club in Turkmenistan and who is a member of our organization - international Socio-Ecological Union. Mr. Tukhbatullin was arrested on December 23, 2002. His trial has been set for March 4.
  This is a unique opportunity to relate to President Niazov the international community's certainty in Mr. Tukhbatullin's innocence and integrity, and of its determination to see him released.
  Farid Tukhbatullin is accused of participating in a meeting organized by the IHF and Memorial in November where human rights activists discussed the current human rights situation in Turkmenistan. For the past month Turkmen authorities have denied Mr. Tukhbatillin access to legal counsel.
  We are sure Farid didn't break any laws. This case is nothing but an effort of Turkmen regime to find someone to accuse of participation in recent attempt upon the life of the President Niyazov. We ask your assistance in defense of our friend and colleague environmentalist Farid Tukhbatullin whose only fault is that he works for the sake of Turkmen nature and health of the local people.



  Yesterday, on February 28, the slaughter of seal-calves of the Greenland seal in Murmansk region (north-west of Russia), was opened.
  To stop this cruel business, we started campaign, demanding President Vladimir Putin to lift his veto off the law "About Protection of Animals Against Cruel Treatment", which would ban the seal calve's slaughtery.
  People are sending leeters and telegrams. There is a special way to participate for children - "Picture for the President". Children are drawing seal cubs and sending their pictures to president Putin.
  You can see some of the drawings at The page is in Russian, but we plan to do the English version soon.
  Please join the action and send your letter!



  To the President of Russian Federation,
  Vladimir Putin
  4 Staraya Ploschad, Moscow, Russia 103132
  Fax: 7 (095) 205-4330, 206-5173

  To the Chairman of Government of Russian Federation
  Mikhail Kassianov
  2 Podchelskaya St., Moscow, Russia 103274
  2 Krasnopresnenskaya Nab., Moscow, Russia 103274
  Fax: 7 (095) 205-67-70

To the President of Russian Federation,
Vladimir Putin

  Mr. President!
  I am worried about the problem of killing of whitecoats - the calves of the Greenland seal - in a civilized country like Russia. That barbarous process is conducted every year in two regions of Russia - Arkhangelsk and Murmansk regions.
  In the end of February the narrow entrance to White Sea is the only place in Russia, where the Greenland seals are breed. It becomes a "maternity home" for thousands of newly born whitecoats. There they are born, and there they are perish from bullets, gaffs and bludgeons.
  Russia still practices that cruel business. Meanwhile, Europe has refused it. Moreover, import of products made of whitecoats' fur is forbidden in several European countries. In Canada - the second important habitat of Greenland seals - the tourism is developed, which incomes are estimated in several millions of dollars.
  In Russia there is a different situation. In the old way, every year unprofitable Greenland seal-fishery moved by infinite state subsidies sacrifices money from animals killing, that was carried out at the expense of state budget, to a small group of crafty traffickers. The inhabitants of coast-dwellers' villages, who live in extreme poverty and are forgotten by local authorities, have no any hopes for future. Fur-seal fishery, which lasts on average two weeks, does not give them opportunity to earn money.
  It is necessary for the state actively to promote tourism in unique places of the White Sea. The fact of birth of whitecoats on the coast of White Sea is not the cause for their slaughter and gaining of short-term benefit, but it is the opportunity for tourism creation and its long-term development involving local people. The population of the settlements will get legal opportunity to secure deserved income from service of the visitors, including foreign ones. The state in its' turn gets opportunity for completion of state budget, what does not happen at killing of whitecoats. It also is an outlet, which will rescue the whitecoats, and will help the inhabitants coast-dweller's villages to live not on the verge of abject poverty, but to earn adequate means of subsistence.
  I call upon to you, mister President, personally to stop killing of whitecoats on the coast of White Sea. You have promised to Bridget Bardo to do that, when have agreed to sign the Law of Russian Federation "About Protection of Animals Against Cruel Treatment" in December 1999. But the draft of the Law, which you received among the first bills after your inauguration to the post of President of Russian Federation, was turned down by you January 3, 2000. Millions of animals have stay now without protection, and people have no more hope that Russia at last will stop killling of whitecoats, and will treat to other animals in more humane way.
  I urge you to withdraw the veto, which you imposed on the Law, and to initiate its passing. Especially because the Russian parliament already has passed this important legal act. The next step is your.
  I ask you to inform me of consideration of my letter, and to send the answer on the address...

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  This issue was written and complied by
  Sviatoslav Zabelin - the SEU Council Co-Chair,
  Olga Berlova, Alla Kapoustina
  Previous Issues of The SEU Times may be found at
  "The Online Gadfly" at