Russian investigators have descended on the offices of nongovernmental organizations across the country, demanding to inspect financial records and other documents.
This follows the recent passage of a law designed to impose tighter controls over these NGOs, especially those that receive funding from abroad. Critics say it's part of a broader crackdown on dissent since Vladimir Putin regained the presidency last year.
The offices of the human rights group Memorial are still abuzz after a team of government inspectors paid an unannounced visit
The Moscow offices of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and several other NGOs have been searched in recent weeks by Russian prosecutors and tax inspectors, prompting concern over what is being viewed by some as a "concerted action" against the groups.
Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch was quoted Wednesday by The Associated Press as saying that officials from the prosecutor general's office and tax police were conducting an "unannounced audit" and demanding documents.
In Russia, they've started stockpiling snow for 2014 after an unusually warm winter in the city of Sochi. The snow is being stored high up in the mountains, and coated with a "special thermo seal" to prevent it from melting.