The water area of the Lake Ladoga itself belongs to two subjects of the Russian Federation - Leningrad region and Republic of Karelia. This makes Lake Ladoga federal property, in accord with Article 36 of the "RF Water Code".
In view of the uniqueness of Lake Ladoga, its socio-economic significance, on December 7, 1984 the USSR Council of Ministers passed Decree ¹1212 "On supplementary measures for the conservation and sane use of water and other natural resources of the Ladoga, Onega and Ilmen lake drainage basins". The Decree listed the basic nature protection measures for the regulation of economic activities in the area. E.g., the discharge of untreated sewage into the water bodies of the drainage area was to be terminated by 1991.
In 1988 the "Lengidroprovodkhoz" institute developed a "Blueprint for integrated management and protection of water resources in the Neva river basin", which included "Interim regulations for water protection in lakes Ladoga, Onega and Ilmen" as a component part. The first attempts to organize well-coordinated management of the Lake Ladoga drainage area however, remained just theoretical.
Another document designed to regulate economic activities both in the shore zone and in the whole of the watershed area was a draft federal Law "On the conservation of the natural environment of Lake Ladoga and its drainage area", which set guidelines for the management of the territories within the Lake Ladoga drainage area (1996).
The draft Law implied that management of the drainage area (2/3 of the Leningrad region, 1/2 of Karelia, part of the Novgorod, Pskov and Archangel regions) was made the responsibility of the Russian Federation. A Commission for conservation and sane use of the Lake Ladoga resources under the Russian Federation Government was to be organized, which would solve problems related to the management of the state of the natural environment of Lake Ladoga and its drainage area. Development of Programmes, provision of the legal basis for them, financing of the priority nature protection measures, international co-operation in the sphere of nature protection were also to become RF functions.
The attempt to legally protect Lake Ladoga from degradation does not in itself cause any objections. Still, in today's situation of deep economic crisis and political instability the feasibility of implementing a Law focusing on the activities of a Commission headed by a representative of the President of RF and made up of vice-heads of the administrations of the Federation subjects is questionable. The draft Law was criticized both by the Federation subjects, and by specially mandated institutions dealing with conservation and utilization of natural resources, and was not therefore submitted to the State Duma for consideration.
At present, the legal basis underlying nature conservation activities in the area is comprised of international agreements and conventions, federal and regional legislation, and agreements between the Federation subjects.
At the federal level a system of environmental protection
standards was developed for the USSR back in the 1980's - early 1990's. It comprises 61 document dealing with the general requirements to surface and ground water protection, standards and techniques of measuring air pollution, soil classification with regard to pollution degrees, etc.
Current Russian legislation related to environmental protection and sustainable nature use is quite comprehensive. At the federal level only 22 laws and 94 Decrees of the Government of Russian Federation were adopted on these issues in 1995-98.
All Laws, nature conservation laws included, are of the so-called framework nature, which means that they just outline the pattern of practical implementation of the legal and economic mechanisms for both nature protection and sustainable nature use. The Laws will not work without statutory provisions, which are instruments for their implementation. Furthermore, the subjects of the Russian Federation have the right and are urged to concretise framework federal laws through the local legislation.
On the regional scale the Leningrad region as well as the Republic of Karelia have a number of statutory documents regulating nature use in the Lake Ladoga area and specifying the corresponding statements of the Federal legislation.
The laws and regulations regarding nature protection and sustainable use of natural resources, operating in both subjects of the Russian Federation, are no doubt more advanced that the federal legislation. They apparently represent the interests of both the subjects, and the Russian Northwest in general. Mechanisms for practical implementation of the laws are identified by a number of Decrees and Resolutions at the regional level (See Annex A-2.3.).