The antibiotic resistance profiles of 150 heterotrophic bacterial isolates recovered from two lakes in Southern Siberia was determined to examine the effect of anthropogenic disturbance on aquatic ecosystems. Resistance was detected in at least one strain for seven of the eight antibiotics tested, the exception being amikacin. Resistance to antibiotics predominated in the areas of the lakes likely to be under highest anthropogenic disturbance. Resistance was more frequently observed among isolates recovered from within the proximity to a tourist resort (Lake Shira; 63% of bacteria with multiple antibiotic resistance (MAR) in the resort part), or the shore line (Lake Shunet; 100% of bacteria with MAR) than among isolates from the center of each lake; 42.5% of bacteria with MAR from Lake Shira and 25%/75% of bacteria are resistant to three/four antibiotics consequently from Lake Shunet. Plasmid profiles were determined from a sample of 37 multiply resistant bacteria, and between one and four plasmids were isolated from each isolate; the plasmids ranged in size from 2.3 to 23.1 kb. These observations are consistent with anthropogenic disturbance playing one of the key roles in the dissemination of antibiotic resistance in the aquatic ecosystems.