Green activist held by Russia as 'spy'
Thursday 08 February 1996
Russia's security services have launched another attempt to crack down on a Norwegian environmental group which is investigating the dumping of highly radioactive nuclear waste, by arresting one of its experts and branding him a spy.
Agents from the Federal Security Service (FSB) have arrested a member of the Oslo-based group, Bellona, in St Petersburg and are holding him on charges of espionage, reviving fears that the security services are resorting to the tactics of the old KGB to prevent a scandal being made public.
The arrest of 44-year-old Alexander Nikitin is the latest move against Bellona by FSB agents, who last year raided the group's offices in Murmansk and St Petersburg and seized documents and computer equipment. The group specialises in investigating the dumping of radioactive waste on the Kola Peninsula, near the Norwegian border, by Russia's northern fleet.
Bellona, which also accuses the FSB of repeatedly harassing its staff, said Mr Nikitin's arrest was "a serious blow against democracy and environmental efforts in Russia". Technically, espionage carries a possible death sentence.
It appears Mr Nikitin's role in the group is a matter of particular sensitivity to the Russian authorities: he is a former captain in the Russian navy who became a supervisor of nuclear facilities in the Ministry of Defence before resigning three years ago. A spokesman for the FSB confirmed his arrest, but refused to comment further.
Bellona has become a bugbear for the Russians because of its efforts to probe the navy's heedless and highly dangerous dumping practices. In November it made international headlines by releasing pictures of dozens of spent fuel containers from an early Russian nuclear submarine, saying each was as radioactive as last year's first French nuclear test in the Pacific. They had been sitting in the open near the Norwegian border.
- 1 Top Gear team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May officially heading to Amazon Prime for new car show
- 2 Stuart Baggs: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
- 3 How to cancel Amazon Prime: after Top Gear hiring, how to leave premium service
- 4 Tesco scraps 'unexpected item in the bagging area' as self-checkouts switch to less 'frustrating' audio
- 5 Living in Spain and commuting to London 'cheaper than actually working in London'
Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
Stuart Baggs: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
MH370: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
MH370 debris: Investigators 'confident' that Boeing 777 wing found - live updates
Living in Spain and commuting to London 'cheaper than actually working in London'
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Government is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: For desperate migrants it is 'England or death' as they brave dogs, riot police and speeding trains
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...
£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...
£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...