Vladimir Putin’s peculiar version of ’70s chic isn’t limited to backing thuggish client states and hurling invective at the West. A new generation of useful idiots has been fathered by the Kremlin.
Even the New York Times concedes Russia`s clandestine backing of the anti-fracking movement in Europe:
Anca-Maria Cernea, a leader of a conservative political group in Bucharest that has exposed the prospect of a Russian connection, said that while no documents have been uncovered proving payments or other direct support from Russia, circumstantial evidence shows that “Russians are behind the protests against Chevron.”
The protesters, she noted, included groups that usually have nothing to do with one another, like radical socialists, some with ties to the heavily Russian influenced security apparatus in neighboring Moldova, and deeply conservative Orthodox priests. Russian news media, she added, were curiously active in covering and fueling opposition to fracking in Pungesti. RT, a state-run Russian TV news channel aimed at foreign audiences, provided blanket coverage of the protests and carried warnings that villagers, along with their crops and animals, would perish from poisoned water.
None of this has stopped Gazprom from looking for shale gas and oil itself. Its Serbian subsidiary, Nis, is now exploring prospects in western Romania near the border with Serbia. Unlike the Chevron project at the other end of the country, however, the Gazprom effort has stirred no mass protests.
It is not surprising that an ex-KGB chief of station would resort to the toolkit that gave us the World Peace Council, the CND, and the Greenham Common “peace camp”.