September 2013 Photo of the Month


October 10, 2013

A Russian Coast guard officer is seen pointing a knife at a Greenpeace International activist as five activists attempt to climb the 'Prirazlomnaya,' an oil platform operated by Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom platform in Russias Pechora Sea. This is one example of the disproportionate use of force by the Russian authorities during a peaceful protest. The activists are there to stop it from becoming the first to produce oil from the ice-filled waters of the Arctic.

© Denis Sinyakov / Greenpeace

Early Sept. 18 in the Pechora Sea, freelance photojournalist Denis Sinyakov captured the moment when unarmed activists helping support a peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Russian Arctic are threatened with knives and fired upon with heavy weapons by the Russian Coast Guard.

A Greenpeace activist raises his arms in surrender as a Russian coast guard threatens with a knife

A Greenpeace activist raises his arms in surrender as a Russian coast guard threatens with a knife

Two activists climbed up the Gazprom Arctic oil platform Prirazlomnaya intending to put out a banner condemning oil drilling in the fragile waters of the Arctic Ocean. From atop the platform, high pressure firehoses doused the two inflatables below. On one of them, Sinjakov somehow managed to document the action. The response by the Russian commandos in inflatables is aggressive and violent. Their own video shows high caliber rounds fired into the sea close to activists who are raising their hands in surrender.

The two climbers were taken into custody that day and the rest of the crew returned to the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise circling in nearby international waters. The next morning armed FSB agents boarded the ship from a hovering helicopter and illegally seized command and detained all aboard, towing it for four days to the Russian port of Murmansk.

There Sinyakov, videographer Kieron Bryan of the UK and the 28 crew of the Sunrise including Captain Peter Willcox have been held in custody and threatened with piracy charges.

Sinyakov said The criminal activity I am blamed for is called journalism. I will keep doing it.

I hope that day comes very soon. Join amillion others in calling for his release, and the rest of the Arctic 30.


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