Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned all 30 of the Greenpeace campaigners who were awaiting trial following their failed attempt to board a Russian oil platform. All, with the possible exception of one, left Russia as quickly as possible. One Italian was waiting for a translator before Russia completed the release process.
Putin’s move is widely viewed as a public relations stunt designed to build good will for Russian business interests and in advance of the Sochi Olympic games. The Pussy Riot members’ and Khodorkovsky’s prison sentences were all about to expire. Sending the Greenpeace detainees home similarly salved an international wound and avoided the ill will of lengthy detentions, trials and potential incarceration.
The detained Greenpeace campaigners were shocked at how cold they found the Russian city of Murmansk in Autumn. They were later transferred to Saint Petersburg, but will be spared a long Russian winter behind bars there.
Russia continues to hold the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. Greenpeace has complained that the diesel powered Arctic Sunrise has not been adequately maintained and has basically been tied up and left to decay in Murmansk. Arcitic Sunrise is the same ship which CFACT boarded during UN COP 15 in Copenhagen after offering donuts to the crew. CFACT then hung a banner rechristening it the “Ship of Lies. CFACT also positioned a banner rechristening Rainbow Warrior II “Propaganda Warrior.” Watch here.
Do you think Greenpeace will choose Russia or the freedom of one of the liberal democracies it so despises the next time it goes trespassing? Any bets?