Why did Greenpeace suddenly become very active in the Arctic? What are the organization's activists trying to achieve? How do they explain their goals? Experts and head of Greenpeace Arctic Russia Vladimir Chuprov helped a correspondent of Pravda.Ru to understand these and other issues.
Greenpeace was not invited to Valdai international discussion club. Apparently, they felt hurt, and decided to draw the attention of the participants of the discussion forum in their own way. On September 18 the Infantry of the organizations tried to storm an oil platform in the Pechora Sea. Of course, this provoked a Coast Guard vessel "Ladoga" to open a warning fire. Then the situation developed according to the classic scenario.
There was a training show of the masked fighters of border troops with a helicopter landing on the deck of the Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise," followed by an inspection. Today they will travel to Murmansk under escort. But the main thing is press releases, conferences, blogs, tweets, and interviews with anyone who asks. Of course, the BBC got involved. A statement on its website said that they demanded to stop the activities of the FSB against the Greenpeace that defended the national interests of Russia. An attempt to disrupt an oil production project that will bring revenue to the state budget is a bizarre idea of the national interest
"The activities performed by Greenpeace in the area of the Barents Sea are precisely the protection of the national interests of the country. Both Putin and Medvedev say, and rightly so, that Russia needs to stop oil dependence and move towards a new economic model," told Pravda.ru head of Greenpeace Arctic Russia Vladimir Chuprov. "We either move towards a new economic model that is competitive, or we will continue to make a choice in favor of monopoly power companies. The oil projects will bring more economic minus, that extra amount of oil that we will be able to obtain and sell at export projects will not cover the losses from tax breaks."
It is hard to understand the rationale behind these profound economic calculations. The next attack is in the direction of the FSB. "In this situation, the question is whose interests are protected by FSB? The FSB website clearly states that in cooperation with Rosneft and Gazprom, the FSB successfully resists national threats in the Barents Sea. This is not a national threat. A national threat is in the fact that 20-30 years later we will have a lot of oil rigs costing tens of billions of dollars. There will be hundreds of thousands of people who will come to work there, and adjusting territories will collapse."
Head of the Department for Applied Political Science of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation Konstantin Simonov is skeptical about the Greenpeace arguments both in terms of economy and common sense.
"It has long been known that major environmental organizations are usually hired by some corporations to deal with others. It is no secret that Greenpeace is often caught participating in paid promotions when one oil company hires Greenpeace to attack another oil company. In this case, environmentalists often attack some, but do not notice others. Russia I think is more of a PR element, because the reputation of Greenpeace is significantly dampened, and they are trying to hold high-profile campaigns in an attempt to attract attention. Russia's activity in the Arctic is a good occasion to draw attention to the organization.
But I am convinced that these campaigns have nothing to do with nature protection. The last campaign and the previous campaign with the capture of the platform is not the first is history. Greenpeace activists in the past chained themselves to a different platform, and wrote about it on Twitter. That time they were not detained, their vessel was not escorted. When they were offered to simply climb onto the platform to see what was going on there, they refused because they have no idea what is going on there. They hire people who do not understand what oil extraction is, what the risks are. They start some noisy campaigns, throw tantrums, and when they are offered a dialogue they refuse to engage. Why do they need a dialogue? They need to yell, to demand that projects are shut down.
They focus on external factors, and often these are funded campaigns. I'm not ready to argue that the situation in the Pechora Sea was inspired by someone, but I do not rule out that it was just a commonplace Greenpeace PR. Again, it has nothing to do with the fight for the environment. They are fighting with oil platforms not knowing what they are. When they are offered an explanation they say they are not going to listen. This is strange. That is why when we talk about oil extraction on the shelf, for example, it is clear that this is a very fragile eco-topic, but there is a need for a conversation with sane environmentalists, while Greenpeace activists are insane.
Of course, you can say that Russia is returning to the Arctic, which is shocking for many, and someone is trying to actively promote the fight against Russia, someone is trying to counter this. But the fact that we are fought against means that we are acting in the Arctic with lots of energy. I remember the hype after diving of submersibles in the North Pole. I am absolutely convinced that there will be hysteria after the decision on restoration of military bases on the New Siberian Islands in the Arctic announced this week.
Of course, there will be hysteria, but other countries are doing the same thing - the militarization of the Arctic is in full swing. Offshore production is taking place in other countries, including the United States. I did not notice Greenpeace attacking the American platforms. Environmental disasters can be found everywhere, not just in the Arctic. What happened in the Gulf of Mexico? Where was Greenpeace? Was it attacking platforms? It was nowhere near.
Russian companies are quite open to talking with environmentalists, but when they break the law, chain themselves to platforms, write about it on Twitter, it is not a dialogue. This is not the first time Greenpeace was caught and explained that they violated the law of the sea border and other things. They go into direct violation of Russian law, provoking the Russian authorities to tough actions.'
A coordinator of the Moscow branch of the Russian anti-globalization resistance Elena Borisova believes that Greenpeace's methods are unacceptable.
It seems that Greenpeace is activated when Russia begins to implement some projects in the Arctic, Barents Sea?
"I strongly suspect that it is really the case. We did support a number of campaigns by Greenpeace when we thought that the nature was in danger. The examples are Utrish reserve, game reserves of the Caucasus in connection with the ongoing construction there. However, in many cases there is some correlation.
Of course, Greenpeace needs funding. It receives this funding. The current public relations system allows, so to speak, to create the impression of independent functioning. That is, direct requirements are not always there. There are no statements like "we'll give money if you hurt someone," in many ways it's hidden, including from the protesters, and even employees of Greenpeace. We are in contact with them and know a lot about it.
Now, as evidenced by our anti-globalist research, everything in the world is closely interconnected, and competent policy will keep all the activities under control. This includes very noble as well as not so noble activities like terrorism, outbreaks of extremist and so on.
Indeed, certain correlation is not ruled out in the end. In Russia there are a lot of environmental organizations, they need to keep abreast of the events, but this does that mean that they have to break the border regime, disturb the authorities, and bring public outrage on the authorities. Many problems can be solved in a peaceful manner and, in principle we should aspire to do so. We sympathize with the people who are affected, but did not believe that their actions were actually proper."