A court in the northern port city of Murmansk has already denied bail to two Britons and four Russians held over the September 18 protest in which activists tried to scale the Prirazlomnaya oil rig and security forces later boarded the Greenpeace ship. The piracy charges, punishable by up to 15 years’ jail, appear aimed at sending a message that Moscow will not tolerate attempts to disrupt its development of the resource-rich Arctic. Other countries and firms seeking to exploit Arctic energy resources face similar concerns from environmentalists, who fear they will destroy a pristine ecosystem. Willcox, 60, a veteran campaigner who was at the helm of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior when it was bombed and sunk by the French secret service in 1985, denied the charges against him in court. “I have been doing this for 40 years and never faced a charge like this,” the state-run Russian news agency RIA quoted him as saying. “If I could start everything over, I would stay in New York.” Greenpeace says the protest at the rig owned by state-controlled Russian energy company Gazprom was peaceful and calls the piracy charges absurd and unfounded. “He is a hero not a pirate,” Willcox’s wife, Maggie, said in a statement. “I appeal to the common sense and conscience of the Russian authorities to let my husband and the rest of the people from the Arctic Sunrise come home.” President Vladimir Putin has said the activists were not pirates but that they had violated international law. The head of the Kremlin’s human rights advisory body has said he would ask prosecutors to withdraw the piracy charges. Investigators have said more charges will be pressed against some protesters as drugs and other suspect items had been found on the ship. Greenpeace denies there were illegal items aboard.
Russia Responds to Anti-Migrant Riots by Arresting Migrants
The dangers became particularly clear in December 2010, when football fans and skinheads staged a riot at the Kremlin walls, beating dozens of dark-skinned passersby and leaving swastikas scrawled on surrounding buildings. That was the most violent display of ethnic hatred to erupt in Moscow under Putins rule, and it reminded the elites that xenophobia is a force best kept contained. (MORE: Russias Elections: Even in Defeat, Anti-Putin Camp Finds Victory ) But as last months mayoral election approached, Sobyanins campaign team seemed unable to resist the political temptation. Polls showed anti-immigrant sentiment was high among the electorate, and it was a far easier issue for Sobyanin to turn in his favor than corruption or tawdry social services. So Sobyanin not only failed to dampen these racist feelings, not only turned a blind eye to manifestations of racism, but he took up this anti-immigrant rhetoric as the basis of his campaign, Petrov says. The Moscow mayor was not the only politician trying harness this energy. Particularly among young men, aggression toward immigrants is no less ferocious in Russia than in many European countries inundated with foreign laborers. But Russia has no independent party capable of representing the political far right; the Kremlin has not allowed such movements gain a foothold in the electoral processes. The countrys right-wing youth have thus tended to coalesce around football clubs and other informal groups, giving rise to a fierce and politically marginalized subculture of nationalism. Sobyanins main rival in last months election, the opposition leader Alexei Navalny, has long been known to associate with nationalist groups, and he had a strong chance of garnering their support if Sobyanin failed to co-opt them in the lead-up to the election. After this weekends riot in Moscow, Navalny again showed his sympathy for the anti-immigrant movement, lashing out against the hordes of legal and illegal immigrants who live and work around the citys bazaars.
Brazil to ask Russia for permission to question Edward Snowden
Russia finished on top of Group F with 22 points, one point ahead of second-place Portugal which beat 10-man Luxembourg 3-0 and will go into next month’s European playoffs for a berth in Brazil. The Russians last qualified for the World Cup in Japan and South Korea in 2002, but under coach Fabio Capello they quickly secured the group’s top spot and held it as Portugal once again came up short. “Russia was the best team. They were better than us,” Portugal coach Paulo Bento said. “We needed to demonstrate better quality if we wanted the top spot.” In Baku, Roman Shirokov gave Russia the lead in the 16th minute from a cutting pass from Alexander Samedov. Vagif Javadov headed in the equalizer in the 90th. Azerbaijan was reduced to 10 men in the 73rd when Maksim Medvedev was given a red card for a rough tackle. “I’m satisfied with this qualifying campaign,” Russia coach Fabio Capello said. “With such a strong opponent as Portugal in our group, we grabbed the top place.” Capello still had some concerns, saying it was the third time that Russia conceded a goal in the last minute. “We should look ahead and improve our game,” he said. Portugal also had to go through the playoffs to qualify for its last two major tournaments, the 2012 European Championship and 2010 World Cup. It was a semifinalist at Euro 2012. The Portuguese have been dogged by inconsistency.
Russia qualifies for World Cup with draw
(AP Photo)The Associated Press In this image made from video released by WikiLeaks on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks during a presentation ceremony for the Sam Adams Award in Moscow, Russia. Snowden was awarded the Sam Adams Award, according to videos released by the organization WikiLeaks. The award ceremony was attended by three previous recipients. (AP Photo)The Associated Press In this image made from video released by WikiLeaks on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden smiles during a presentation ceremony for the Sam Adams Award in Moscow, Russia. Snowden was awarded the Sam Adams Award, according to videos released by the organization WikiLeaks. The award ceremony was attended by three previous recipients. Snowden, who is charged by a U.S. court with violating the Espionage Act for disclosing the classified NSA programs, has been granted asylum in Russia. (AP Photo)The Associated Press Next Slide Previous Slide BRASILIA, Brazil Brazil’s Federal Police and a Senate investigative panel said Tuesday they want to question National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to learn more about the spying program that targeted Latin America’s biggest country. According to information leaked by Snowden, President Dilma Rousseff’s communications with aides were intercepted, the computer network of state-run oil company Petrobras was hacked and data on billions of emails and telephone calls flowing through Brazil were monitored by the NSA.