NGO BROC under the leadership of Anatoly Lebedev was registered as legal entity in the early 1997, but was acting as journalistic and experts' network since early 1990-th. We then organized (1992) globally famous Greenpeace action against Russian - Hyunday JV "Svetlaya", illegally tried to enter with destructive commercial logging to the remote intact temperate forests and indigenous people land on the Sikhote-Alin watershed, later adopted by UNESCO as World Heritage Site "Central Sikhote-Alin". Since 1995 BROC during 9 years produced special regular biweekly TV show "Preserved" ("Zapovedano") on the governmental channel of Primorye Region, which constantly presented analysis, review, interviews and stories on the destiny of the forest communities under destroying governance of Russia, on environmental and community problems, suggested alternatives, choices and experiences from another regions of Russian and Globe.
Although this forest concern was not the only issue for our TV show, it was always our priority in accordance to the basic grantmakers strategy and interests. Since 1995 we were involved as grantee and sub-grantee into the forest concerned projects of IUCN, World Bank, USAID, private funds WAJ, McArthur Foundation, TMU, IKEA, Eurasia, Hewlett Foundation, Ford Foundation, NGOs Forest Trends, Forests Monitor (UK), Global Forest Coalition, DFID (UK), ITTO, CIFOR etc. We also used to closely collaborated with US Yale and Vermont Universities on the issue of sustainable forestry.
We conducted all the logistics and ideology of famous Greenpeace action in 2000 against illegal timber from Russian Far East, when "Rainbow Warrior" attacked Russian timber ship "Biisk" in Toyamashinka, Japan, carrying justified illegal timber from Primorye, and then submitted official statement on the issue to G-8 at Okinawa, Japan. Since that the problem of illegal timber from Russian Far east to Japan and China began officially recognized in Russia, Japan and China, and many governmental and inter-governmental initiatives started, as FLEG etc.
Since 1996 BROC, in collaboration with Pacific Environment (USA), Friends of the Earth - Japan, national and local Russian NGOs, conducts regular analysis of forestry practices and illegal logging at the Russian Far East and timber market dynamics of the East Asia with specific focus on the forest community benefits and livelihoods. We had published a set of analytic reports via websites of our partners PE, FOE-J, Forests Monitor, Forest Trends and Taiga Rescue Network, produced a series of video documentary - ourselves and in collaboration with UK University of Wolverhampton. A bunch of analysis was produced to evaluate environmental and social impacts of the new Forest Code in Russia.
In the close collaboration with Amur Branch of WWF-Russia and timber company in Primorye "Terneylesstroy" BROC succeeded to involve a set of timber companies of the South Far East to FSC certification, created a group of environmentally and socially responsible companies. All the positive experiences in the forest management and community involvement had been broadly distributed over the Far East and Siberia since 2001 via our quarterly magazine "Ecology and Business". It is distributed by the own efforts of BROC over all the resource concerned officials, universities, key mass media, supervising and monitoring agencies, some municipal administrations and key resource users, Russian and regional NGOs and libraries.
As a result of our activities inside forest communities we challenged a high interest to the efforts to find balance between biodiversity conservation, environmental, social and economic sustainability on the community level, which is completely ignorant on the state power level.
And the most efficient and unique result of our activities during 15 or more years in the high conservation value forests of the South Far East we consider rehabilitation of community members, determined officially as illegal loggers. We discovered, that the real and dangerous destruction to the forest and forest communities in Russia comes from the criminal state itself, which ignore Constitution, Budget and any other laws and regulations in the run for profit. And, if any company pays officially designated obligatory payments to the budget, it only helps to strengthen corruption at the upper level in Moscow and lower in the regions. To the other side, if people go by the illegal mode of forest use and timber trade, they succeed to keep much more forest profits on the territory via bribes.
Criminality of Russian governance - not in the forest only - is many times confirmed by the lot of media. And one simple system of "otkat" - private payment to official for the right to get legal right for the resource use - use to equal 60 % of the whole obligatory payment. In such conditions and strategy, target to murder small local business totally, local bribery is the only chance to keep forest communities live and thus save the forests from unlimited legal destruction in favor of national oligarkhy.
It is very important to understand, that in such our approach we meet almost full support and understanding amongst local illegal loggers, which are ready to accept most of environmental limitations and to accuse corrupted state officials, seeking for bribes and happy to put into jail anyone, who is not paying it. Some the most progressive illegal loggers succeeded with our media support to develop local infrastructure for the villages, which was ignored by officials constantly.
We also succeeded to turn the mind of some key forest inspectors to differ real forest thieves, supported by the criminal corrupted officials, and poor community members, enforced by the wrong legislation to get some illegal timber for their family survival and poverty reduction. And we finally broadly distributed our understanding of that by our own magazine "Ecology and Business" and mass media contacts.
Additionally to all that, BROC during about 20 years present comprehensive vision and necessary contacts for the foreign journalists, interested in the forest use and community problems. In 2010 only we already conducted journalistic rides for French, Spanish and Japanese colleagues, interested in Chinese invasion into our forestry complex and it's social and environmental impact. Formerly we used to help our colleagues from USA, China, Japan, CNN, France, Germany, UK, Italy, Finland, Sweden etc. This all gives a lot to the better global understanding of the whole processes in our forest communities and forest governance.