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Russian officials raid opposition groups under pretext of searching for pirated Microsoft software

Sep 14, 2010, 09:06 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Clifford J. Levy)

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"It was late one afternoon in January when a squad of plainclothes police officers arrived at the headquarters of a prominent environmental group. They brushed past the staff with barely a word and carted away the computers. Taken were files that chronicled a generation's worth of efforts to protect the Siberian wilderness.

"The group, Baikal Environmental Wave, was organizing protests against a decision by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to reopen a paper factory that had long polluted nearby Lake Baikal, a natural wonder that by some estimates holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water.

"Instead, the group fell victim to one of the authorities' newest tactics for quelling dissent: confiscating computers under the pretext of searching for pirated Microsoft software."

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