The ecological campaigners endangered the security of workers and property at OAO Gazprom (GAZP) s oil rig and resisted Coast Guard officials, the Investigative Committee in Moscow said on its website today. Charges will be filed shortly, the law-enforcement agency said, without specifying further. Russian investigators have opened a criminal case against 30 Greenpeace activists from 18 countries for piracy, a charge that carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. They were remanded in custody at the end of last week for two months in the port city of Murmansk. This case is unpredictable and its hard to make any forecasts, Vladimir Chuprov, head of the energy program of Greenpeaces Russian branch, said today by phone. But they seem to be backing away from the piracy charge and desperately looking for something else to accuse the activists of. Greenpeace protesters scaled a Gazprom rig in the Pechora Sea on Sept. 18. The state-owned company has accused the environmental organization of endangering the lives of workers on the rig who were underwater at the time of the protest action. Russias Coast Guard boarded Greenpeaces Arctic Sunrise ship in international waters on Sept. 19, a day after two protesters scaled the rig, and towed the vessel to Murmansk. Gazprom plans to become the first Russian company to start producing oil in Arctic waters at the Prirazlomnoye deposit as soon as this year.
Russia to Charge Greenpeace Activists Over Arctic Protest Act
The preaching tone that they adopted in this area does not suit us.??? The law orders fines for individuals and organisations deemed to have violated the law, and, unusually, also singles out foreigners who risk fines of up to 100,000 rubles ($3,106), detention for 15 days and deportation. Many commenters believe Russia underestimated the international reaction to the law, which now risks overshadowing the Sochi Winter Games, the biggest event in its post-Soviet history. But Milonov, who describes himself as a ???man of European culture??? defends the law as part of a promotion of family values in Russia and the protection of children. ???We have to defend the future of our children,??? said Milonov, who has children aged four and one. He railed against the legalisation of gay marriage in some European countries, describing it as a ???symptom of an illness in society, a spiritual degradation???. ???Ninety-five percent of Russians are against gay marriage. Gays do not have any support in Russian society.??? ???We could say that paedophilia is a sexual choice we could say that murder is one way to survive. But truth is truth and we cannot change the way things are. Homosexuality is not normal, I???m sorry.???