KAMCHATKA: EXPOSING CORRUPTION IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH
STATEMENT FROM THE EDITORS OF TIKHOOKEANSKIY VESTNIK ("PACIFIC REVIEW," A NEWSPAPER), SEVERNAYA PATSIFIKA ("NORTH PACIFIC," A MAGAZINE), THE FAR EASTERN FISHERMENíS MOVIE STUDIO, AND THE CHARITABLE PUBLIC FOUNDATION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF NORTH PACIFIC BIORESOURCES (THE NORTH PACIFIC FOUNDATION)
On September 19, 2001, members of outside organizations at the Kamchatrybvod Press Center A. N. Saneyev, executive director of the North Pacific Foundation, Aleksei Sergeyevich Vakhrin, Deputy Editor in Chief of the Pacific Review, and Yevgeny Yuryevich Dort-Golts, Executive Secretary of the North Pacifichad their operating certificates and rights revoked "for failure of public inspectors of the Kamchatrybvod Press Center to produce positive results in their work." Only the editor in chief of these publications, Sergey Ivanovich Vakhrin, remained at Kamchatrybvod; he is also the Press Centerís staff manager. But his job description was completely revised, and the Press Centerís Charter was completely rewritten. The press centerís manager was warned that if he did not agree to the changes in his working conditions, he would be fired.
The North Pacific had been recognized as the countryís best environmental magazine in 2000. Its films devoted to the problems of conserving North Pacific bioresources had won the far-eastern fishermenís studio many high honors at All-Russian and International Movie Festivals. The Pacific Review had become a general far-eastern fishing newspaper. The North Pacific Foundation had initiated and organized the Russian-American Public Conference on the Problems of Conservation in the Bering Sea and the All-Russian Movie and Television Festival, "Living Water."
So what happened?
The previous Charter of the Press Center at Kamchatrybvod (the Kamchatka Basin Administration for the Conservation and Reproduction of Fish Stocks and Regulation of Fishing), based on the Charter of Fish Conservation Agencies, which states that fish conservation agencies, within the scope of their competence, "shall organize the conduct of public explanatory work among the population of workers in the fishing industry, fishing collectives, and other enterprises and organizations on matters of the conservation of fish stocks, other aquatic bioresources and plants, and the regulation of their harvesting," formulated the Press Centerís mission as follows:
1. The organization of fish conservation information and propaganda on the territory of Kamchatka Region, and also in regions of the Far East and in those countries whose fishermen catch fish and products of the sea in the Kamchatka fishing basin;
2. The provision of information to workers and specialists at Kamchatrybvod, the Main Administration for the Reproduction of Fish and Protection of Fishing (Glavrybvod), the Fisheries Committee, territorial and regional administrations, and the public of fishing regions in the Far East and countries in the North Pacific region regarding the most urgent problems of conserving the fish stocks of the Kamchatka fishing basin, including anadromous and far-migrating species, necessary for decision-making and the development of policy with respect to the conservation of bioresources in the North Pacific.
It was specifically with these objectives (both technical and financial) in mind that the Press Center, in consultation with the previous management of Kamchatrybvod, had formed todayís outside (legally independent) organizations: the Charitable Public Foundation for the Conservation of North Pacific Bioresources, the editorial board of the North Pacific, the Far Eastern Fishermenís Movie Studio, and finally, the editorial board of the Pacific Review.
The Kamchatrybvod Press Centerís new charter defines the following objective as a priority: "the formation, using the mass media, of a positive public opinion (emphasis addeded.) of the activities of Kamchatrybvod and the State Fisheries Committee."
And now it has all fallen into place: our work to discover corruption in the countryís fishing industry, and our publication of numerous documents on the role of the State Fisheries Committee (Goskomrybolovstva) and various mafia organizations in the collapse of the fishing industry in the Far East was what made the activities of the North Pacific, the Far Eastern Fishermenís Movie Studio, the North Pacific Foundation, and most importantly, the Pacific Review, incompatible with the activities of the agencies and entities of the State Fisheries Committee, primarily Kamchatrybvod and its present management staff.
We regard this alone as the main reason for the actual destruction of the Kamchatrybvod Press Center, the expulsion of its outside organizations, and the negation of the Kamchatrybvod Press Centerís role in the conduct of full-scale, very serious work to shape public opinion in the fishing regions of the Russian Far East and countries of the Pacific region on problems of the conservation of the North Pacificís aquatic bioresources.
For our part, we appeal to all who are familiar with the activities of the North Pacific Foundation, the North Pacific, the Far Eastern Fishermenís Movie Studio, and the Pacific Review to please express your opinions of our activities regarding the conservation of the North Pacificís aquatic bioresources and to support us in our fight against corruption in the Russian fishing industry.
We are willing to work outside Kamchatrybvod, and have no problems whatsoever with that. Our new address is 3-A Kosmichesii proezd, Office 202, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683038. But we categorically protest all the insults and humiliation by the Kamchatrybvod management over our departure and their assessment of our activities.
for the group,
Sergey Ivanovich Vakhrin
Manager of the Kamchatrybvod Press Center, Editor in Chief of the North Pacific and the Pacific Review, the Far Eastern Fishermenís Movie Studio, and President of the North Pacific Foundation.
Member of the Russian Journalists, Writers, and Cinematographers Union
September 20, 2001