The business of the Greenpeace activists arrested in Russia has been attracting notice lately.
In view of the evidence of climate change lately it is surprising to the outsider that Russia has taken this attitude.
But it does seem that inside Russia opinion is against the Greenpeace protestors.
I actually heard someone on the Voice of Russia a week or 2 ago, describing Greenpeace as a so-called environmental group. He said that they were acting on behalf of Gazprom’s competitors. He cannot possibly have believed this to be true. But maybe the general public are fed this & do believe it. It is true – apparently – that most people do not sympathise with the Pussy Riot punk group.
To us in the West where more liberal traditions prevail this all seems absurd. But it seems that the Russian authorities are determined to make a song & dance about Greenpeace.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of the 2 Pussy Riot prisoners seems to have disappeared.
It is hard to say how the Greenpeace activists would have been treated in the West, the UK in particular. But it is certain that although much of the population of the UK would have disapproved heartily of a similar act in for example in St Paul’s Cathedral, that a similar perpetrator wouldn’t have ended up in prison. A group like Pussy Riot would have incurred opprobrium no doubt from the general public, much tut tutting even though most UK citizens don’t believe in God at all these days. But most UK citizens believe in the establishment & institutions of state.
So what is going to happen to the Greenpeace activists? On such occasions in the past in many countries, such prisoners have been released after a visit by somebody senior in the British government. But there are no signs that on this occasion this is going to happen. It may do. But Russia is keen to portray its judiciary is independant. It may be. It may not be. There are whispers that Putin himself is behind many of the judicial decisions. 95% of those brought before the Russian courts are found guilty. But in Soviet times it was 100%. The Russian public & indeed the public in what was the Soviet Republics are used to 100% or almost 100%. It is probably hard for them (the Russian Public) to believe that anybody brought the courts is in fact innocent. According to Solzhenitsyn, even in Soviet times, even when Stalin ruled, until the secret police came for them, there were people who believed that those sent to the Gulag were guilty of something. It rather looks as though the Greenpeace activists are going to be in a Russian prison colony for several years. Attempts to put pressure on Putin & his cohorts could backfire & result in longer sentences than they might otherwise receive.
Greenpeace, far from being agents of imperialism have been a thorn in the side of oil corporations & both the New Zealand & French governments over the years. The present relative prosperity of Russia depends on its oil reserves in Siberia. It is a pity that they, the Russian state, is so addicted to oil that it can’t see how wrong it is to despoil the Arctic.