Russia doesn’t want Europe fracking for natural gas because Russia wants to keep exporting natural gas there itself. And environmental groups don’t want Europe fracking for natural gas because, well, because fracking is an environmentally heinous method of getting a climatically heinous fuel out of the ground. But Russia and environmentalists are not friends. Russia locked up green activists on trumped-up charges for criticizing the environmental impacts of the recent Winter Olympics. And Russia locked up members of Greenpeace for three months late last year after they attempted to scale an oil rig to protest Arctic drilling.
But if NATO’s secretary general is to believed, opposition by Greenpeace and other environmental organizations to fracking is the result of infiltration or collusion involving Russian agents.
“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engages actively with so-called non-governmental organizations, environmental organizations working against shale gas — obviously to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas,” said NATO’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former prime minister of Denmark, during a talk at the Chatham House international affairs think tank in London on Thursday.
Well, obviously. But who are these allies? Has Russia sent undercover operatives to sneak into green groups? Or is there some sort of collaboration between the should-be foes?
Rasmussen didn’t elaborate. “That’s my interpretation,” he said.
Green groups have denied the bizarre allegations. “The idea we’re puppets of Putin is so preposterous that you have to wonder what they’re smoking over at Nato HQ,” Greenpeace said.
And NATO promptly distanced itself from the allegations, describing them as Rasmussen’s personal views.
For now, we’re going to hold off on imagining European environmentalists adorned in Russian military garb.