From Investors Business Daily:
Russia's economy is almost entirely reliant on oil and gas earnings. The fracking revolution, which has led to a 30% increase in U.S. oil and gas output, is responsible for the recent sharp decline in global energy prices. This has left oil-dependent economies like Russia in desperate straits.Therefore, Vladimir Putin has a powerful motive for demonizing fracking and turning western countries away from it, thereby increasing world reliance on Russian oil.
No less a figure than NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen has accused Russia's intelligence agencies of working with environmental groups to fund anti-fracking campaigns.
"I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations - environmental organisations working against shale gas - to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas. That is my interpretation."An example of Russia's ability to rally protesters recently in Bulgaria:
Pointing to a mysteriously well-financed and well-organized campaign of protest, Romanian officials including the prime minister say that the struggle over fracking in Europe does feature a Goliath, but it is the Russian company Gazprom...This belief that Russia is fueling the protests, shared by officials in Lithuania, where Chevron also ran into a wave of unusually fervent protests and then decided to pull out, has not yet been backed up by any clear proof.
Several European countries have similar stories to tell:
In Ukraine, for example, anti-fracking movements became more organized and better funded just as the government worked to finalize shale gas deals with Western energy firms, officials there say. In Lithuania, "exactly the same thing is happening," said a government official, who described the mushrooming of anti-shale billboards and websites there as "an integrated, strategic communications campaign."
According to the National Review, Russian intelligence has implemented a 3-pronged strategy:
- First, Russia has ramped up covert payments to environmental groups in the West.
- Second, the Russian SVR (CIA equivalent) has directed its spies to gather intelligence on the American energy industry.
- Third, Russian intelligence’s biggest cover operation — its RT “news” outlet — is undertaking a massive propaganda campaign against fracking.