Greenpeace To Appeal Jailing Of Its Activists In Russia After Protest Over Arctic Drilling Rig

By Daniel J. Graeber,Guest blogger / September 26, 2013 Russia’s President Vladimir Putin arrives to attend the Enniskillen G8 summit, at Belfast International Airport, Northern Ireland in June. Peter Muhly/Reuters/File Enlarge The head of the World Bank in Russia saidWednesdayhe was alarmed by the slowdown in the Russian economy. The bank said the Russian economy was slow to emerge from a recession still gripping parts of the eurozone despite recovery elsewhere in the world. It said the government’s investment activities slowed down in part because of the completion of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea. Its dependence on oil and natural gas exports, meanwhile, exposed the Russian economy to additional risks. With Europe finding new sources of natural gas, and Asian economies looking at Canadian markets, the Russian economy is starting to retreat behind the former Iron Curtain. OilPrice.com offers extensive coverage of all energy sectors from crude oil and natural gas to solar energy and environmental issues. To see more opinion pieces and news analysis that cover energy technology, finance and trading, geopolitics, and sector news, please visit Oilprice.com . Recent posts The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition The World Bank said it revised its growth projection for the Russian economy from its May estimate of 2.3 percent to 1.8 percent for 2013. “The economy appears to be growing close to its capacity, constrained by feeble investment activities and a tight labor market,” Birgit Hansl, World Bank coordinator for economic policy in Russia, said in a statement. (Related article: Why Canada’s Oil Future isn’t Going South ) RECOMMENDED: Fracking. Tight oil. Do you know your energy vocabulary? The report said Russia’s dependence on oil and natural gas exports left its economy exposed to volatility on the global commodity market. Major oil price indices continued a steady decline on word Libyan oil production was on the rebound.

“These detentions are like the Russian oil industry itself, a relic from an earlier era,” Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said in a statement. “Our peaceful activists are in prison tonight for shining a light on Gazprom’s recklessness.” Of the 30 people jailed by the court, 22 were put in custody for two months pending an investigation and the other eight were detained for three days pending a new hearing, now scheduled for Sunday. No charges have been brought against any of the activists. Russian authorities are considering whether to charge them with piracy, among other offenses. The Russian Coast Guard disrupted an attempt by two of the activists to scale the oil platform on Sept. 18. The next day, they seized Greenpeace’s ship, the Arctic Sunrise, and towed it with the crew aboard to Murmansk. Greenpeace Russia campaign director Ivan Blokov described the arrest as “the most aggressive and hostile act against Greenpeace since the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior ship.” Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior was bombed by French government agents in New Zealand in 1985, killing one man. The detained activists are from 18 countries, including Russia, and a long detention or series of trials could draw unwelcome international attention to Russia’s tough policy against protests. Greenpeace Russia’s lawyer, Anton Beneslavsky, rejected Gazprom’s claims that the activists could have caused damage to the platform. “If one activist hanging on the rope from the platform could have damaged it, then such a platform should not operate on the Arctic shelf,” he told a news conference Friday. Beneslavsky also referred to Greenpeace’s protest at the same site last August when six activists spent several hours hanging off the side of the platform attached to the rig’s mooring. Back then, the coast guards “did not react at all to what happened,” he said. The activists were not detained and faced no charges.

Russia Jails Greenpeace Activists After Arctic Drilling Protest Results In Piracy Charges

The renewed tension could set back a fresh drive by the countries’ leaders to end a decades-old territorial dispute over the small islands north of Hokkaido which were seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War Two. The spat over the islands, known as the Southern Kuriles in Russia and as the Northern Territories in Japan, has prevented Moscow and Tokyo signing a treaty formally ending hostilities and still hinders efforts to improve relations. “If for some reason Japanese politicians cannot refrain from making public statements on the subject of the islands after a visit to Russian territory, we reserve the right to limit their participation in such trips,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. It underlined in a written statement that visa-free travel was permitted for Japanese officials as a “humanitarian act”, mainly to enable them to visit the graves of their ancestors. The ministry made clear it was referring to comments by Ichita Yamamoto, Japan’s Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs, during a visit to the islands and quoted him as saying that his view of “the need to return territories” was reinforced by his trip. PUTIN AND TALKS Tokyo did not immediately respond. Asked about the Russian Foreign Ministry’s warning at a news conference, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he was not aware of it and declined further comment. A report by the Nikkei business daily on a news conference given by the minister on September 23 following his visit appeared to contain no inflammatory comments. “We intend to calmly accept the current condition surrounding the Northern Territories and solve the territorial issue through tenacious negotiations, without fluctuating between hope and despair,” Nikkei quoted him as saying. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japan’s then prime minister, Shinzo Abe, agreed to revive talks on the islands during a summit in Moscow in April. Any new tensions over the islands would be likely to set back those efforts. An end to the dispute is not in sight, but reviving long-stalled talks is a first step to improving economic cooperation, which both sides say has failed to live up to its potential. The islands were seized by the Soviet Union, of which Russia was then the biggest part, after it declared war on Japan in August 1945 and days before Japan surrendered, forcing about 17,000 Japanese to flee. They are near rich fishing grounds.

Russia warns Japan over travel to disputed islands

Gazprom said earlier this month it was to start pumping oil this year, but no precise date has been set. The Arctic Sunrise sails under the Dutch flag. The Netherlands has asked Russia to release the ship and its crew immediately, explain the legal basis for its actions and any charges against the activists. ___ Vasilyeva reported from Moscow. Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report. Also on HuffPost: Loading Slideshow A group of Clark College students attempted to dramatize air pollution by taking walks around Vancouver wearing gas masks as an Earth Week project, April 21, 1970. “Were trying to show the effects of pollution, but most ignore us,” said one of them, Ken Cochran. An estimated 7,000 people jam a quadrangle at the Independence Mall in Philadelphia, during Earth Week activities celebrating the eve of Earth Day, April 22, 1970. A woman dressed as the Statue of Liberty poses on a float full of trash during Earth Day observances in Florida in 1970. Kenneth Opat is squirted with oil pistols by Dorothy Goldsmith, left, and Rita Webb, at Tulane University in New Orleans as students tagged Louisiana’s oil industry with the “polluter of the month” award, April 22, 1970. The demonstration was part of the first observance of Earth Day. Earth Day demonstrators trying to dramatize environmental pollution conclude their rally at the Interior Department in Washington on April 22, 1970, leaving spilled oil in their wake. The oil was used to protest pollution by offshore oil drilling. A participant at Earth Day celebrations at Union Square in New York City carries a sign protesting killing, April 22, 1970. Thousands crowded the square, where official observances were held, and Fifth Avenue all the way to 59th Street, where vehicles powered by internal combustion engines were banned.