"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
"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
"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."