According to the document, the owners - government agencies and tenants - must charge citizens for the entrance to the parks, green areas and protected areas.
Entrance fees to parks and reserves will be calculated based on the formula "at least 0.5 percent of the subsistence minimum of the working-age population in the whole of the Russian Federation." Today this minimum is a little less than 12 thousand, that is, regional officials will have to set the price of an entrance ticket at least 59 rubles. The upper level of the tariff has not been set: you can take as much as the local authorities deem necessary. At the same time, you cannot completely refuse to pay the fee. Of course, the law provides for benefits for certain categories of citizens.
All this involuntarily reminded the imperishable episode from "12 Chairs", when Ostap Bender decided to make money selling tickets to Proval. Remember? "Buy tickets to enter the Proval!" - "And for what purpose is the fee charged?" - "For the purpose of major overhaul of the Failure, so... not to fail too much".
In total, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources, today there are more than 10 thousand specially protected natural areas in Russia. Their area is over 121 million hectares. In most cases, PAs include parks and wildlife reserves, including urban ones.
We decided to inquire in several protected areas whether they have begun to collect fees in accordance with the Government Decree. The directorate of the Troparevsky Nature Reserve told us that they had not heard of such a Resolution at all, the entrance to the park is free. In response to the question whether the entrance to it is paid, in the directorate of the protected areas of regional significance “Valley of the Setun River”, they asked: “From which side?”. Apparently, they are gradually thinking about introducing an entrance fee. But in the directorate of PAs of regional significance "Valley of the Skhodnya River" they did not even hear about the collection of fees for the passage, as well as about the Government Decree. The same answer was given to us in and in the Terletsky forest park. But the administration of the Natural Monument "Serebryany Bor" reported that the entrance to the beach area adjacent to the reservoir is paid.
Sooner or later, the fee will be required for everyone who does not live in the protected area. How to charge it is a separate question. With parks, everything is easier, there is a fenced area. But with Losiny Island, for example, what to do? Will a booth be installed there, or will cashiers guard the trees? From the point of view of ecologists, it makes no sense to enclose natural reserves where rare animals live - their territory should be open from all sides. But since the government decree was issued, it will have to be executed.
What will the money go to for the entrance to the green protected areas? And who will they get to?
“The resolution does not regulate exactly where the proceeds will go. This, like the amount of payment, will be determined by the city's executive authority (in the case of national parks, the federal authorities). However, in the Moscow budget, which amounts to 3 trillion rubles, it was clearly possible to find the necessary amount of funds for the maintenance of protected areas without introducing any regular levies. The question is not so much in the amount of funding, but in who and where this money will be spent, ”said Elena Yanchuk , a deputy of the Moscow City Duma, a member of the environmental commission, to NI. - “By the way, we have not discussed this issue in the Moscow State Duma yet, but we will definitely raise it. Instead of taking the path of protecting protected areas, the authorities have chosen the absurd path of commercialization. Is this measure justified? This is some crazy idea. Wildlife in the city is an incredibly important component of the urban environment, it must be preserved and protected from commercial use, while leaving it accessible to all citizens, ”says Elena Yanchuk.
Today, the main problem of PAs is not a lack of funding (very little is needed to maintain a normal ecosystem), but what is happening around Specially Protected Natural Areas. Many protected areas are under constant threat of destruction or development. The development of the Brateevskaya floodplain, the crushing of Losiny Island - this is just what has appeared in the news of recent months.
“Just look what a threat is hanging over the forests of the Irkutsk region, Baikal is threatened with catastrophic destruction of forests! And the money is spent in an extremely voluntaristic way - one has only to recall the development of regulations for Moscow PAs for 250 million rubles! The development of regulations is carried out with a lot of violations, this was noted by all specialists related to the environment at the stage of the TK. Everything takes place secretly and without discussion with the professional environmental community. The Moscow Department of Nature Management responds with inadequate silence to all our proposals to discuss these provisions with experts. So the issue of protected areas does not lie at all in the plane of insufficient funding, but rather inadequate legislation and the desire to “use it commercially, that is, to build it up”, Yelena Yanchuk, a member of the Moscow City Duma Ecology Commission, explained to NI.
Well, what if a person, for example, lives in an area adjacent to a national park or protected area, every day passes through this area to the place of work or study? Or just doing sports there? “We have such areas where there are PAs, in Moscow, fortunately, there are still quite a few, I myself live in the territory adjacent to the PAs - in Izmailovo”, says Yelena Yanchuk. - Just imagine how much a "subscription to the forest" can cost if a person, for example, runs in the park every morning or likes to walk there after work, with a child, on weekends. The minimum fee, according to the decree, is approximately 60 rubles. This means that if a person walks every day, then he will have to pay 1,800 rubles a month for such walks, and 21,600 rubles a year. And this is "at the minimum rate." If this is a national park, like, say, Losiny Ostrov, then visiting it will cost at least 117 rubles. At the same time, such a measure will naturally not prevent the development and destruction of specially protected natural areas, ”Olena Yanchuk said.
Ecologist Ivan Neslukhovsky, after the entry into force of Government Decree No. 1039, has no idea how he will conduct his scientific research in the protected areas. Apparently, school ecology lessons in nature protection zones, and excursions there will also become paid and therefore rare. “Any gathering should have a goal. What is the purpose of this fee for entering a forest park or protected area? What service, in fact, will be provided to the consumer? The question is rhetorical. Remove garbage from the nature protection zone, liquidate the landfill, stop self-seizure - here the regional authorities stand aside. But as soon as the question of money arises, everyone is animated. A lot of organizational and related issues also arise. The first is how to implement this measure. Should a conservation area where animals migrate be surrounded by a fence? Will the gamekeepers give out my entrance ticket or will there be any posts in the protected areas? Should I move around with my ticket doing research?" - asks the ecologist Ivan Neslukhovsky.
As follows from the text of the regulation, the fees charged can be distributed between local authorities and tenants. And here the question arises about the possible misuse of protected areas. For example, they laid tiles in a nature conservation area or a forest park, paved several paths, installed swings or benches - and the tenant is already partly the owner of this territory. “They will put some creepy green mushrooms in the forest park - supposedly landscape design - and the tenant has the right to demand a separate payment for this. In general, they will make a kind of "feeding trough" out of PAs. Not to provide services to the population, but to replenish the local budget. After all, PAs and forest parks have a recreational, health-improving function, not an entertainment one. After all, the Constitution stipulates that natural resources are the property of the people”, - says ecologist Ivan Neslukhovsky.
However, from a legal point of view, it is difficult to dig into the Government Decree No. 1039. “Any specially protected natural area is under the jurisdiction of regional authorities. Those who are in charge of it have the right to charge a fee. Commercial structures also have the right to receive money, as they equip parks and maintain them in proper condition. The resolution was adopted by the government within the framework of the law. Situations when residential buildings are adjacent to protected areas should be regulated by the local authorities within the framework of the law. The payment that will be collected must go to the development of a nature protection zone or forest park; any other use of this money is absurd. This does not infringe on consumer rights in any way”, - Alexey Koitov, co-chairman of the Russian Consumers Union, told NI.
In general, the history of the adoption of this Resolution is rather funny. In January 2017, the State Duma received a legislative initiative from the deputies of the Murmansk region to charge a fee for entering protected areas, but then the proposal of Murmansk legislators was rejected. At the end of 2018, the deputies of the People's Khural of Buryatia came up with a similar initiative. In response, Vladimir Burmatov, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Ecology, said: "The proposal to charge a fee for entry into reserves and specially protected natural areas has no basis whatsoever." That is, initially the deputies stood up against this bill. Why did they support him later?
The deputies returned to the consideration of the bill on fees for entering protected areas and protected areas in 2018. And who stood up for him most of all, who do you think? The head of the State Duma's environmental committee, Vladimir Burmatov, is a former opponent of this bill. The intrigue is that earlier Dmitry Medvedev, when he was prime minister, introduced a law on fees for visiting protected areas for consideration by the State Duma in a package with other initiatives. Since then, legislators have given the federal government the power to determine the cost of entry fees to protected areas. The government did not use this opportunity for 2 years, and finally, in the summer of 2020, special rules were endorsed by Prime Minister Mishustin. Thus, the State Duma deputies relieved themselves of the unpleasant responsibility for innovations in legislation, shifting this burden onto the government. And they themselves remained as if nothing to do with it.
The time of the adoption of the bill is also noteworthy - the summer of 2020, when the mass departure of tourists to the resorts did not take place due to the coronavirus and prohibitions. The nearest natural parks have become a favorite vacation spot for many. This kind of vacation has even become popular! Apparently, having caught the trend, the government decided to benefit from it. “As usual, the authorities are trying to compensate for coronavirus costs and failures at the expense of people. Fines for rubbish or making fires are one thing, but admission fees to protected areas, which are already financed from the budget, that is, from citizens' taxes, are not just dubious, but a real inadequate measure. "People are new oil" - this is apparently how the authorities think and are trying to make people's lives even more unbearable, including through a "tax on nature," said Yelena Yanchuk, a member of the Moscow City Duma's ecology commission.
In fact, this law is the same as the payment for fresh air. Or for entering a part of the city.