News / Europe

Greenpeace Crackdown Part of Moscow’s Arctic Cold War?

Crackdown on Greenpeace Part of Wider Control in Russian Arctici
X
September 30, 2013 11:01 PM
Russia's jailing of Greenpeace activists is drawing attention to the Russian Arctic. James Brooke reports from Salekhard, the Russian city closest to the Greenpeace protest.
James Brooke
Icy blasts of water greeted Greenpeace protesters climbing Russia’s lone offshore oil platform in the Arctic.
 
Then, Russian police fired warning shots.
 
And then arrested 30 activists.Today, 28 Greenpeace activists and 2 journalists from the ship are serving 2 months detention terms in Murmansk, where their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, also is impounded.
 
Greenpeace Russia lawyer Anton Beneslavski says last year there were no legal penalties after Greenpeace boarded the same platform and unfurled a protest banner.
 
He said that last year, border police never reacted. This year, police are accusing Greenpeace of piracy.
 
But Russia is increasingly flexing its muscles in its vast Arctic region.
 
In September, Russia’s only nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser led a flotilla to the Novosibirsk Islands, where Russian soldiers reopened a military base that had been closed 20 years ago.
 
As Arctic ice melts more, the base will check on ships passing in summer.
 
Last summer, China’s first icebreaker, the Snow Dragon, made the Arctic passage. This summer, the first Chinese freighter passed over the top of Russia.
 
Last May, at a meeting in Sweden, the Arctic Council admitted China as an observer.
 
That meeting also drew Greenpeace protesters. They called for a ban on drilling and mining in the fragile Arctic environment.
 
Recently, at  Salekhard, a Russian city on the Arctic Circle, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at an Arctic Forum. He rejected Greepeace's protest tactics.
 
He said: "They are obviously not pirates, but formally, they did attempt to board the platform.”
 
After Putin spoke, Vera Orlova of the Russia Geographical Society told foreign reporters that their permits to visit the Russian Arctic had expired.
 
She said that it was an absolutely normal procedure for reporters to receive permits to visit Salekhard for only the two days of the conference.
 
No other nation restricts visits to its Arctic cities. But Putin’s Russia is taking the road of more and more government controls.

  • Salekhard, population 45,000, is the world's only city that straddles the Arctic Circle. This roadside monument marks this line that crossses the tundra. (V. Undritz for VOA)
  • Modern Salekhard has been built by Russia’ state gas giant Gazprom as a center for one of the richest oil and gas regions in the world. (V. Undritz for VOA)
  • Bright colors seek to cheer up residents in a city where snow falls in September and there are only two hours of daylight each day during December. (V. Undritz for VOA)
  • There as many as half a million reindeer in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region, the world center for raising reindeer. (V. Undritz for VOA)
  • Nenets people cherish their traditions, which have survived 70 years of Soviet communism and two decades of Russian consumerism. (V. Undritz for VOA)
  • Nenets carve souvenirs from walrus tusks. Tourism is limited because Russian authorities now demand additional permits to visit the city, a three hour flight from Moscow. (V. Undritz for VOA)
  • Cossacks founded the city in 1598 on the eastern bank of it the River Ob, which flows north to the Arctic. (V. Undritz for VOA)
  • Brightly colored tower beckons are seen in Salekhard. (V. Undritz for VOA)
  • The road to the airport is decorated with static displays of airplanes and helicopters that pioneered polar aviation in the 20th century. (V. Undritz for VOA)
  • An old locomotive is a reminder of the period, from the 1930s to 1950s, when Salekhard was a gulag town. Thousands of prisoners died constructing what later became known as “The Railroad of Death”. (V. Undritz for VOA)

You May Like

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
September 30, 2013 10:16 PM
Eventhough the arctic circle belongs to no specific countries, the sea within the 200 miles should be recognized as Russinan arctic region. So, if the performance was done by peaceboat within it, they sould bring passport with them.

I guess performances conducted by peaceboat have been generally speaking radical and illeagal. They should rethink about measures to claim to be adapted to the code conducts of international laws, or they could not get major supports from others however right their claims may be. Thank you.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid