On 31st of August 2010 Pavlovsk Experiment Station of VIR had an unscheduled inspection. The station was visited by representatives of the Public Chamber, the Accounts Chamber as well as representatives of the Russian Housing Development Foundation. This inspection was a result of instruction given by Dmitry Medvedev for this situation to be scrutinized. After visiting two plots the commission was convinced that, indeed, the disputed plots harbor plants that make a part of the Vavilov collection of plant genetic resources. As a result of field inspection, - Nadezhda Shkolkina reports,- representatives of the RZhS Fund stated they will postpone an auction for an uncertain period.
The next inspection that will be conducted by the Accounts Chamber is scheduled on 15th of September 2010.
“The branch of the Russian Housing Development Foundation (RZhS), which according to the order issued by the Federal Property Management Agency has obtained plots of the Pavlovsk Experiment Station with an invaluable plant genetic resources collection, forbade for Station`s employees to enter plots in question”, - reported Pavlovsk Station director Fyodor Mikhovich to “RIA Novosti”
According to the order of the Federal Property Management Agency two plots with the total area 71 and 19 hectares occupied by the Pavlovsk Experiment Station of VIR near St. Petersburg were passed to the RZhS. The court, to which the direction of the Station has appealed, approved the order of the Federal Property Management Agency and rejected both claims. The Council of the Public Chamber has forwarded a telegram to the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev with a request to rescue the collection; the President gave an instruction for this issue to be scrutinized.
As Mikhovich says, on Friday he got a telegram signed by the director of the North-West branch of the RZhS Nikita Stepanov. The telegram stated: as a result of the plots inspection conducted on the 23rd of August a Station equipment was revealed.
“He forwarded me a letter, in which he forbids for the Station`s employees and me, as a director of the Station, to enter the territory of the fruit and berry collection, as it`s their property and I shouldn`t stick my nose into there”, - Mikhovich said.
Mikhovich added, he made a call to the branch using a number indicated in the letter, but didn`t receive any comment from the RZhS representative on how to conduct a scientific work on the plots the access to which is denied.
“It`s not your property, your unsanctioned entering violates rights of the owner” was written in the letter accompanied by the copies of the documents confirming property rights of the RZhS for the plots in question,- Mikhovich reports
RIA Novosti has`t managed to get any comment from the RZhS.
As it has been already reported by the mass media, on 11th of August 2010 there was held a hearing of the Moscow Arbitration Court that confirmed the conveyance of a land plot occupied by the Pavlovsk Experiment Station (POS VIR). According to the court`s decision the land of POS VIR should be passed to the Russian Housing Development Foundation. The court's decision was expected for many stakeholders.
"The lawyer of the Federal agency reported that the land in question is a Federal property and the State has every right to use it at its own discretion" – “RIA Novosti” (11/08/2010).
The Government commission on housing development has decided to transfer the mentioned property to the ownership of the Russian Housing Development Foundation as a property contribution of the Russian Federation (protocol dated as of 09.12.2009 № 12). The Article 15 of the Federal Law dated as of 24.07.2008, № 161-FZ "On the promotion of housing construction"says that the empowered Federal executive body must take a decision within thirty days from the date of submission of the relevant documents in regard of the mentioned patches.
To execute the decision in accordance to the protocol of the Government Commission for Housing Development and documents attached the Federal Property Management Agency has issued orders dated as of 25.12. 2009 № 2058-p and № 2061-p. 16.02.2010 between Federal Property Management Agency and the Russian Housing Development Foundation there have been signed acts of transfer and acceptance of this property.
01.04.2010 there has been registered a termination of the right of perpetual use by the Pavlovsk Experiment Station and registered the ownership right for the Russian Housing Development Foundation – an official comment of the Russian Housing Development Department (12/08/2010)
Legally, of course, they have a right, but from a moral point of view – it`s barbaric. No one could imagine the land can be taken for housing construction purposes – VlR representatives throw up their hands in surprise"- “Fontanka.ru” (11/08/2010).
“The auction in regard of the first plot encompassing cereals is scheduled as early as 23rd of September. The situation for the Institute is complicated by the fact that activities of the Russian Housing Development Foundation are legal” “The auction may be canceled only in case of application absence, not later than 15 days before the date of the auction. As far as the President's instruction is concerned, we have not received any official orders yet "- the correspondent of the “Real estate experts believe the scandal round the plots may scare away most potential buyers”,- “Voice of America” . (18/08/2010).
“Meanwhile, the country is reaping fruits of rampant disaster. Drought and fires forced the authorities to discuss the upcoming shortage of bread. Zubkov called for the effective organization of seasonal work which determines a harvest for the next year, proposing to make an inventory of stocks and seed quality, to identify sources to compensate their deficits as well as time and resources for pre-sowing preparation. Meanwhile all the anti-crisis steps of the Government can be wiped out by business-interests of some structures. The Council of the Public Chamber has forwarded a telegram to the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev with an appeal to rescue VIR collection of plant genetic resources at Pavlovsk Experiment Station”,- newspaper “VEK” reports (16/08/2010).
“Exactly this collection belonging to the N.I. Vavilov Research Institute could be the basis for the revival of seed stock of the country and save the situation during this difficult period”,- “Rosbalt Peterburg” (12/08/2010).
“Russian officials have taken little interest in the repository, even as the worst drought in 130 years has wiped out at least a quarter of the country`s grain harvest”,- “Science” (20/08/2010).
“The Council of the Public Chamber has forwarded a telegram to the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev with a request to rescue VIR collection of plant genetic resources”,- « RIA Novosti» (18/08/2010).
Nadezhda Sholkina with the Public Chamber: “ on one hand, we constantly repeat the words "innovation", "modernization", we constantly speak about that. On the other hand, we destroy with our own hands an invaluable place, where these unique innovations were being introduced unstoppable in the production, just imagine, for 80 years, that is not on the paper, but on the fields. To my mind, it`s actual especially today, when our country is facing unprecedented drought and when we need seeds, adaptable to such an abnormal, for instance, heat, and may be next year to heavy rains»,- First Channel «Vremya» (20/08/2010).
Earlier the Institute addressed the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev with a request to rescue the Pavlovsk Experiment Station. Two days later Medvedev wrote in his Twitter account “Received the Civic Chamber appeal over the Pavlovsk Experiment Station. Gave instruction for this issue to be scrutinised ”.
At the beginning of September the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation is planning to visit the Pavlovsk Experiment Station to check the legitimacy and efficiency of plot usage. The inspection will be conducted by auditors Mikhail Odintsov, Alexander Piskunov and Viktor Kosourov.