Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 84

A spokesman for the Norwegian environmental group Bellona said April 26 that three agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) had forced their way into the group’s Murmansk office earlier that day and placed bugs on its telefax machines. The agents also took two Bellona activists into custody for questioning. The Bellona spokesman called the FSB actions a "scare tactic." They demonstrated, he said, "that the statement by Russian president Boris Yeltsin during his visit to Norway last month is worthless." (AFP, April 26)

During a high-profile trip to Oslo March 25-26 (See Monitor, March 27), Yeltsin had made a commitment to Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland that Moscow would drop complaints against Bellona. The Oslo-based environmental group has drawn the ire of the FSB for hard-hitting investigations into Russia’s handling of nuclear waste in the Murmansk region. Aleksandr Nikitin, a retired Russian naval officer involved in the investigation for Bellona, was arrested in February on charges of espionage.

The Bellona spokesman also said that Bellona employees had been shadowed by FSB agents during the recent G-7 nuclear security summit in Moscow. The group published a report on the eve of the summit warning again of the dangers posed by nuclear waste in Russia’s Far North. (See Monitor, April 22) The Norwegian consul in Murmansk, meanwhile, said that Oslo’s response would follow receipt of an explanation from Moscow on the FSB’s latest actions. (AFP, April 26)

Belarus not to be Written Off.