Russia will charge Greenpeace activists with piracy

posted at 5:21 pm on October 1, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Who didn’t see this coming?  Greenpeace activists attempted to return to a Russian oil rig in the Arctic last month where they had earlier staged a protest occupation, and found the Russians a little more prepared.  They have since been held without charges in a Russian jail, and today Interfax reports that they may spend the next 15 years cooling their heels if found guilty of piracy:

Greenpeace activists detained in Russia for an open-sea protest against Arctic oil drilling will on Wednesday be formally charged with piracy, the Interfax news agency said, citing an unnamed source.

If found guilty, the 30 detained activists could face a maximum punishment of 15 years in jail.

“They will be charged according to Section 3 of the Criminal Code’s Article 227 (piracy committed by an organised group,” Interfax quoted a law enforcement source as saying on Tuesday.

AFP reports that the protesters are “in shock” over being detained by “a democratic state”:

All but four of the activists are non-Russians from countries including Britain, the United States, Finland and Argentina.

Russia has jailed the activists from Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise protest ship without charge pending an investigation into alleged piracy, after several scaled a state-owned oil rig on September 18.

The activists have complained of cold cells and a lack of suitable clothing and food, said Irina Paikacheva, the head of a state-connected regional prisoners’ rights watchdog.

“Many of them are in a state close to shock,” she told AFP after visiting the prisoners. “They had never expected that they would face such consequences for their peaceful protest in a democratic state.”

I think I see the disconnect here.  If Greenpeace expected the authoritarian Russian government to react in a similar manner as Western democracies, well, they simply haven’t done their homework.  This is the same government that has imprisoned a female punk-rock band to a two-year sentence for criticizing Vladimir Putin. Their hunger strike ended today, by the way, with no concessions from the Kremlin:

The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service says that an imprisoned member of the punk band Pussy Riot is ending her hunger strike nine days after it began.

The service told the state news agency ITAR-Tass that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was in stable health after ending the hunger strike on Wednesday. An opposition leader who said he had spoken with Tolokonnikova also tweeted that she was ending the strike.

Interfering with Gazprom’s operations is a more serious manner than insulting Putin. Greenpeace had better hope that their home countries can cut a deal with Russia to get them deported soon, or else it might be a very long protest. Perhaps they’ll learn a lesson about the qualitative differences between Western democracies and the rest of the world, too.


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Reaping what you sow.

TimBuk3 on October 1, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Need something stronger, like a drum circle or something…
change is for suckers on October 1, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Okay, that’s funny, I don’t care who you are!

JusDreamin on October 1, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Dusty on October 1, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Need something stronger, like a drum circle or something. Then, watch Putin’s resolve to detain them crumble.

change is for suckers on October 1, 2013 at 5:31 PM

A stern down twinkles is sure to get them released.

talkingpoints on October 1, 2013 at 7:50 PM

In this case, I side with Putin, even though he has to clean up after the mess his (former) agency created.

Steve Eggleston on October 1, 2013 at 7:59 PM

LOL Putin look so much better than what we have in office… too bad hes a commie.

watertown on October 1, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Who, Pootie-Poot, Teh SCOAMT, or both?

Steve Eggleston on October 1, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Gosh, such a nice man. I wonder if that was his evil twin that unilaterally invade Georgia a short while back?

Don L on October 1, 2013 at 6:50 PM

That wasn’t unilateral. Georgia was also attacking. They bit off more trouble than they expected or could handle.

David Blue on October 1, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Also, southern Georgia (bordering Azerbaijan) has been a haven and pipeline for the Chechens’ dealings with Iran on arms & etc. Georgia kept claiming they “had it under control”, when they absolutely did not. The Moscow government told them several times “take care of this or we will”. Finally, Putin said, “the hell with it- get it done”.

The Greenpeace crowd’s wailing about having this happen to them in what they define as a “democratic” (i.e., revolutionary socialist) state shows their ignorance on this subject in addition to everything else. Putin has stated many times that Communism was the biggest mistake Russia ever made, even exceeding the centuries of backwardness under the Tsars.

He is emphatically not a Communist. He is a Russian nationalist. And if you think about it, that makes him a very different breed. One that others provoke at their peril. Actually, the closest historical parallel to Putin would be either Gustav II Adolf Vasa of Sweden or .. U.S. President James K. Polk. Simply because there have been so few examples of what might be termed an “aggressive isolationist”. (“Don’t bother me, I won’t bother you, but cross me and you’ll regret it.”)

As for Putin “acting against the opinions of the people”, I don’t think Greenpeace & Friends are nearly as popular in Russia as you assume. Actually, they are seen by most Russians as just more of the “useful idiots” who helped the Soviets keep their boots on the Russian peoples’ necks for nearly three-quarters of a century.

Also, they see “environmentalists” mainly as hypocrites over there. After all, while they’re occupying offshore oil rigs now, they were conspicuously silent about what the Soviets did to the Caspian Sea;

The Volga River, the largest in Europe, drains 20% of the European land area and is the source of 80% of the Caspian’s freshwater inflow. Its lower reaches are heavily developed with numerous unregulated releases of chemical and biological pollutants. Although existing data are sparse and of questionable quality, there is ample evidence to suggest that the Volga is one of the principal sources of transboundary contaminants into the Caspian. The magnitude of fossil fuel extraction and transport activity constitute risks to water quality. Underwater oil and gas pipelines have been constructed or proposed, increasing potential environmental threats.[20]

Various islands in the Caspian have suffered extensive environmental damage due to oil production.[21] Vulf, Azerbaijan has been affected by ecological damage because of the petrochemical industry. This has significantly decreased species of marine birds in the area.

Because, of course no true “people’s government” would ever do anything like that.

BTW, the Sea is now being reclaimed because of stringent regulations. Introduced after the fall of the Soviet regime’.

I don’t think too many Russians give much of a damn how much Greenpeace resents their people being locked up. As a matter of fact, I suspect a lot of Russians would have been just as happy to see them all hanged.

Seen in this light, Putin probably thinks he let them off easy. And he’s most likely correct in that assessment.

I also suspect that the next bunch of “eco-warriors” who try anything similarly outstandingly idiotic in the Rodina will probably wish they’d gotten off as easy as this bunch did.

Putin seems to be the sort who gives one warning. Once.

After that, if you persist in being stupid, he takes the gloves off.

clear ether

eon

eon on October 1, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Poor Americans
Have to rely on Barky.
They will rot in jail.

Haiku Guy on October 1, 2013 at 8:12 PM

eon on October 1, 2013 at 8:08 PM

What we’re witnessing is a toy poodle trying to turn on its master, only the master is wearing steel-toed boots and isn’t afraid to use them.

Steve Eggleston on October 1, 2013 at 8:14 PM

David Blue

You are a wise one! Welcome to HotAir. Hope your cynical realism reaches more HotAirites.

flawedskull on October 1, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Feel good story of the day!

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving sunset of lefties.

wyntre9 on October 1, 2013 at 8:38 PM

Reminds me of a guy from here that thought it would be a good idea to go to Palestine and throw rocks at the Israeli soldiers….He took a rubber bullet to the head and now mommy and daddy get to change his diapers and spoon feed him Gerbers for the rest of his/their life.

Of course everyone else is to blame…..except junior.

repvoter on October 1, 2013 at 8:42 PM

I blame the French – for not finishing the job!

OldEnglish on October 1, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!

I’ve always thought we should test the commitment of these lefties who pull this kind of stunt, or who do things like form a human chain to block logging roads. Run straight over a couple of them and show them their actions have consequences so we can see how many of them a really committed as opposed to those who pretend they’re being brave and sticking their necks out only because they think nothing bad is going to happen to them.

alchemist19 on October 1, 2013 at 8:50 PM

What we’re witnessing is a toy poodle trying to turn on its master, only the master is wearing steel-toed boots and isn’t afraid to use them.

Steve Eggleston on October 1, 2013 at 8:14 PM

Yep.

Sit, Greenie- Now!”

cheers

eon

eon on October 1, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Russia will charge Greenpeace activists with piracy

..are they going to club them?

KOOLAID2 on October 1, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Perhaps they’ll learn a lesson about the qualitative differences between Western democracies and the rest of the world, too.

The operative word, since the level of “democracy” among Western states varies but their commitment to raising idiot children is pretty uniform.

And the “rest of the world” definitely includes Islamic states, who would not bother with the trial or the prison.

AesopFan on October 1, 2013 at 10:08 PM


Putin seems to be the sort who gives one warning. Once.

After that, if you persist in being stupid, he takes the gloves off.

eon on October 1, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Very informative (as usual); thanks.

AesopFan on October 1, 2013 at 10:12 PM

What a weird angle on the story.

What could they expect from a “real western democracy”? I hope it’s something like fifteen years for piracy.

Axe on October 1, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Perhaps they’ll learn a lesson about the qualitative differences between Western democracies and the rest of the world, too.

And the “rest of the world” definitely includes Islamic states, who would not bother with the trial or the prison.

AesopFan on October 1, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Teh Gheys For Palestine and Against Islamophobia are going to be so shocked when they don’t get 15 years!

Resist We Much on October 1, 2013 at 10:39 PM

The old ranchers out here will tell you that, “If you (insert your fav 4 letter “F” word here) with the bull, you get the horns.

When they get out of their assigned gulag bridal suite, they are going to need a cork the size of a Fosters beer can to plug,… well you know.

WestTexasBirdDog on October 1, 2013 at 11:46 PM

flawedskull on October 1, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Live long and prosper. :)

David Blue on October 2, 2013 at 12:04 AM

Did any of them seriously believe they would be unopposed a second time?

Russia highly prizes her oil.

This has to be as among the most presumptuous, stupid things these “save the earth” people have ever done.

I’ll say a prayer for ‘em (I can do that much), but that’s it.

listens2glenn on October 2, 2013 at 2:37 AM

The Russians arrest them, and the French sink their boats. Should I feel guilty if I derive pleasure?

Rode Werk on October 2, 2013 at 7:03 AM

the Japanese whalers need to take a note here from Putins play book. These arrogant greenie punks need a lesson.

Darvin Dowdy on October 2, 2013 at 8:24 AM

They’ll be getting off soft at 15 years. In the good old days the penalty for piracy on the high seas was death.

Annar on October 2, 2013 at 8:44 AM

Guck Freenpeace.

Nutstuyu on October 2, 2013 at 8:52 AM

The Russians arrest them, and the French sink their boats. Should I feel guilty if I derive pleasure?

Rode Werk on October 2, 2013 at 7:03 AM

Pleasure is natural; embrace it.

David Blue on October 2, 2013 at 8:58 AM

The activists have complained of cold cells and a lack of suitable clothing and food…

Sorry, not feeling the sympathy. If Greenpeace had its way we’d all be suffering from cold and “a lack of suitable clothing and food.”

taznar on October 2, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Hopefully these idiots will finally learn the hard lessons of ‘courage of one’s convictions’. Not that they have any…

zoyclem on October 2, 2013 at 9:10 AM

…and perhaps they will be forced to subsist on seal and whale meat…

zoyclem on October 2, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Forced labor on a whaling ship might be suitable punishment…

zoyclem on October 2, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Environmentalists often chide us about our existence here on Earth–we use up valuable resources and put unnecessary strain on the biosphere. So, as a token gesture, perhaps the Russians should execute these excess persons to alleviate the strains of overpopulation. Gaia would no doubt smile at the sacrifice.

zoyclem on October 2, 2013 at 9:26 AM

But the hilarious, yet sad, aspect to all this is that these ‘Greenpeace a-holes’ think they are universally loved by all of mankind !!

Yes…naivete is one key reason many young people gravitate toward these leftist ‘Greenpeace’ type outfits..

15 years in a stark Russian prison should snap them outta their naivete….

GOOD RIDDANCE to ALL GREENPEACERS…ROT IN A CELL FOR AWHILE !!

BigSven on October 2, 2013 at 9:27 AM

I might be tempted to play the world’s smallest violin as a sympathetic gesture for those poor environmentalists, but the U.S. government recently confiscated the wood used to craft these fine instruments…

zoyclem on October 2, 2013 at 9:30 AM

We would hold a candlelight vigil, but the smoke from all those tiny little flames would add pollution to the air we breathe and increase the level of dangerous carcinogens…

zoyclem on October 2, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Screw those hippies. When sane people outnumbered the hippies it was one thing to watch in amusement and go on about their rights to protests. But it led to them now being in control of the US, and we can no longer afford to view them and treat them as harmless. The way things are going, Snowden may have made the right choice in where to go. They know how to deal with terrorism and hippies, and if you think they would apologize for being white every time black thugs attack someone, you don’t know Russia.

Spartacus on October 2, 2013 at 12:07 PM

About time someone held them accountable.

sadatoni on October 2, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

talkingpoints on October 2, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Reminds me of Lori Berenson,
She has a rich family at home in a powerful country she gets bored and finds real meaning in life by supporting an idealistic and violent revolution who’s members likely do not share her idealism but do need her money. So they use her money and make her an honorary captain in the revolution, then she finds out that the government she is trying to overthrow takes her seriously.
Bush shrugs at her connected family and says sorry she is an idiot and the US will not be taking a crap on Peru because of your snowflake princess. And the next 20 years are a lesson in punishment.

notalemon on October 3, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Comment pages: 1 2