Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking an increasingly dim view of environmental NGO activity, whether from within Russia or from neighboring Baltic or Nordic neighbors. In rhetoric eerily similar to what we hear in this country, Putin rails against ecological objections holding up development projects. Going a step further, Putin’s government is criminalizing more and more environmental data-gathering and harassing Russian NGO activists. Putin’s latest warning “against the financing of political activity by any channel” is cited in an August 2 Agence France Presse story. AFP says “the warning came amid a hardening official stance in Moscow toward non-governmental organisations — a policy, analysts say, that reflects Kremlin worry about the influence of foreign-funded organisations in the peaceful revolutions that shook Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine last year.”

If you are interested in a good news-clipping listserv on Russian environmental issues, subscribe to the Russian Environmental Digest Files through the Transboundary Environmental Information Agency, which focuses on the Baltics and Russia.