greenpeace Denis Sinyakov

Russia’s Imprisonment of Greenpeace Freelance Photographer Crosses the Line

Rob Almeida
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September 26, 2013

It’s clear that the entire spectrum of opinions is covered when it comes to the arrest of the Greenpeace activists on September 19th. Some people are fervently in favor of such actions, others literally think the Greenpeace activists are pirates and should be treated as such.

Perhaps the activists were expecting a more cordial reception such as what they received when they boarded the Noble Discoverer in New Zealand back in February 2012.

New Zealand could hardly be farther from Russia both politically and well, geographically.

Regardless, the activists and Greenpeace should be judged under the same moral and judicial lens as Gazprom, or Shell for that matter.

What is surprising, and a bit worrying, is that Russia seems to have the opinion that taking a hard stance toward Greenpeace will further their goals of uninterrupted oil exploration in the Arctic.

I believe the opposite is true.

Greenpeace just posted this image to their Facebook page, showing the freelance journalist Denis Sinyakov behind bars for his part in the “extremist” activity of Greenpeace.
greenpeace Denis Sinyakov

This image will undoubtably serve to strengthen the resolve of Greenpeace and expand their base of supporters. As a journalist, photographer, and American, there’s no question in my mind that he had every right to be aboard the Arctic Sunrise and document the events. Free speech is something anyone reading this values.

There are likely legal issues that the Greenpeace activists which actually boarded the Prirazlomnaya platform will need to content with, but the apprehension of the Greenpeace ship, which was in international waters, opens up a whole other Pandora’s Box of maritime law implications that do not appear to be in favor of Russia.

I’m not condoning the specific actions of Greenpeace, but as a human being inhabiting planet Earth, I do appreciate their efforts to shine a light on activities which have the potential to harm our planet.

Russia’s imprisonment of a photographer crosses the line in my book. Justice can only happen in the presence of truth.

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