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The public organization "Expert Council on Reserve Affairs" sent an appeal to the Chairman of the State Duma with specific proposals to amend the draft law № 1130300-7 "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation" (regarding the regulation of recreational activities in specially protected natural areas).

The need for such an appeal is due to the obvious lapses that this bill abounds in; its adoption in the current version will have negative consequences for the system of state nature reserves and national parks in Russia.

The appeal was signed by the co-chairs of the Expert Council on Reserve Affairs Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, Doctor of Economics, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Scientific Director of the Institute of Water Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Vsevolod Stepanitsky, Honored Ecologist of the Russian Federation, Advisor to the General Director of ANO "Far Eastern Leopards". A number of members of the Expert Council, prominent scientists and professional practitioners in the field of ecology and nature management, also took part in the preparation of the conclusion on the draft law and proposals for introducing priority changes and additions to it. Among them are Academician, Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences on the Ecology of Biological Systems Vyacheslav Rozhnov, Professors Sergei Buzmakov and Alexander Khoroshev, Honored Ecologists of the Russian Federation Yuri Darman and Evgeny Schwartz, Director of the Ecological and Educational Center "Zapovedniki" Natalia Danilina and others.

This draft law, which is awaiting the second reading, provides for fundamental changes to a number of legislative acts and, first of all, to the Federal Law “On Specially Protected Natural Territories”.

In the materials presented, the members of the Expert Council, in particular, noted that the bill runs counter to the repeatedly expressed public position of the President of Russia on the development of eco-tourism in specially protected natural areas (SPNA). Thus, in an address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in 2019, the President noted that “it is necessary to fix it in law: only ecological tourism is possible in reserves.”

However, this draft law does not at all provide for the use of the term ecotourism itself in the Federal Law “On Protected Areas”, moreover, it excludes from the law the concept of educational tourism that is close to it, replacing it with the generalized concept of “tourism”. Thus, this makes it possible to develop other types of tourism (sports, pilgrimage, fishing, etc.) in nature reserves and specially protected areas of national parks that are incompatible with their functionality.

At the same time, the drafters of the bill ignored numerous comments and suggestions from the professional community, incl. those expressed during the discussion in the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.

The President of Russia, in his speech on June 17, 2022 at the plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, said: “The State Duma is already considering a bill that is designed to regulate the organization of tourism in specially protected areas, to create a civilized basis for such activities. In this regard, I would like to draw attention to the following: all decisions made here must be calculated and balanced.” However, this bill contains a significant number of provisions that are decidedly not calculated or balanced.

In this regard, the Expert Council on Reserve Affairs considers it necessary to postpone the adoption of the draft law No. 1130300-7 for the second reading and ensure its further significant revision, including with the involvement of a professional expert community.

The link to get acquainted with the text of the appeal and proposals for changing the bill:


The interregional public organization "Expert Council on Reserve Affairs" was established on January 10, 2023 with the aim of consolidating the efforts of an independent professional expert community in the field of territorial nature protection.

The members of the Expert Council are 90 well-known highly qualified specialists with many years of practical experience in the environmental field. Among them - 1 academician and 5 corresponding members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 6 professors, 57 doctors and candidates of science, 9 honored ecologists of the Russian Federation, 1 honored worker of science of the Russian Federation.

The website of the Expert Council on Reserve Affairs -

Chestina Tatyana, executive secretary of the Expert Council on Reserve Affairs,