Russian champion of Siberia’s Lake Baikal has tough fight

Ecologist Marina Rikhvanova is trying to protect Siberia’s Lake Baikal. She is up against a Kremlin and business elite intent on exploiting natural resources.

Megan K. Stack – Los Angeles Times – 18 Jan, 2008

Reporting from Irkutsk, Russia — There are days when renowned Russian ecological crusader Marina Rikhvanova feels like an endangered species.

She has gotten used to a certain amount of ambient harassment — the intelligence agents rifling through her files, the bank accounts abruptly blocked, the phone she believes is bugged. It comes with the territory.

As Russian President- turned-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has rolled back democracy and downsized civil rights, activists of all stripes have struggled to operate. But with the Kremlin and big business so intertwined that they’ve become virtually indistinguishable, the Russian elite appears to reserve a special brand of venom for those who tend to clash most directly with business: environmental advocates. . .

. . . read complete article . . .
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