A few days ago, on April 20 2017, the Ministry of Justice declared the Kola Ecological Center, of which my mate Alexandra is a member, a “foreign agent” for receiving foreign financing and being engaged in political activity.
Its “political activity” appears to be taking part in public hearings where government officials were present.
The “foreign agent” status means, in addition to a serious stigma, a significant increase in the amount of reporting paperwork the NGO has to do.
The Kola Ecological Center is behind the eco-trails east of Kandalaksha and near Kolvitsa. They also orchestrated the construction of a WW2 memorial in Kolvitsa. These are the sort of things that stand out in their work, not attempting to influence Russian government officials using foreign funds.
“In the winter of 1888, on the 5th (new style: 18th) of January, at about three in the morning, the residents of Kashkarantsy were awakened by a strange and terrifying noise of ice mountains of huge size moving onto their village from the sea, destroying barns, houses, and boats..”
Saw the same thing in its miniature version yesterday:
Spring’s traditional misadventure in the form of an unsceduled trip to the White Sea distances has apparently taken place today, with two kids taking off on an ice floe. Apparently it all ended well but I have no details.
Happens around this time of the year to quite a number of fishermen..
I’ve recently have been once again looking at the issue. It appears that the only way to get the FSB (former KGB) permit is via a local incoming travel agency. Those I’ve contacted (www.atv51.ru, snow51.ru, and www.m-tour.ru) would only arrange permits to the participants of their tours that start at ~$400/person. I’m continuing to look for one that would provide assistance with no strings in the form of tour participation attached.
A couple of years ago I wrote mentioning the British Cemetery in Murmansk from the WW1 days. Recently I got a request for grave photos, and received the following story from Alexandra’s Murmansk acquaintances that I’d like to share with you:
Here is a message from one of my English students:
My name is Irina and I’m studying English for the third year now. I freely read books and watch movies but I desperately need English conversation practice. If you are not afraid my bad English I will be your guide and show you around Kandalaksha.
I’ve been living here for twelve years and there hardly is a question about the town that I can’t answer. Where to stay, where to eat, what to visit, how to enjoy your trip – just ask.
Yesterday drove through 250km of snow and blizzard on the insistent request of my mate, who apparently needed some variety to clear her head off the eider thoughts. If anybody does not know, she is intensely working on a book on the relationship between humans and eider ducks. Sometimes that results in brain overheat, thus the need for a cooling trip once in a while.