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Russia Declares Greenpeace an “Undesirable Organization”

Greenpeace Russia
Russia declares Greenpeace an “undesirable organization,” highlighting tensions between environmental activists and the government. Credit: wikimedia commons / RobertaF cc by 3.0

The Russian arm of the Greenpeace environmental organization announced its closure on Friday due to a government ruling that deemed the group an “undesirable organization.”

According to a statement from the Prosecutor General of Russia, Greenpeace was accused of attempting to meddle in the country’s internal affairs and spreading anti-Russian propaganda. The organization had advocated for imposing sanctions on Moscow as part of its activities.

Greenpeace Russia said in a statement, “This decision makes it illegal for any Greenpeace activity to continue in Russia. Therefore, the Russian branch of Greenpeace is forced to close.”

Russian government’s statements about foreign organizations

Since 2015, the Russian government has been applying the “undesirable” label to numerous foreign organizations, resulting in a complete ban on their operations. This classification effectively prohibits these organizations from functioning within the country.

Following the ruling, Sergei Tsyplenkov, the chief executive of Greenpeace Russia, stated that he would seek legal counsel before determining whether to challenge the decision in court.

He said in an interview, “I am not aware of any successful appeals against such a decision,” He further said, “We understood this could happen. But to say we were fully prepared for this would not be entirely honest.”

Legal proceedings against Greenpeace

Back in 2013, Russia initiated legal proceedings against Greenpeace activists after their attempt to climb an offshore oil rig owned by Gazprom, a state energy corporation, in the Arctic Ocean. The activists’ aim was to protest against oil production in the Arctic.

During the incident, Russian security forces boarded the Greenpeace vessel, which was registered in the Netherlands, and apprehended its crew of 30 individuals. The crew members were subsequently investigated for charges of piracy.

Tsyplenkov hopes that environmental work will still be allowed in Russia. He further said, “I hope the state will not persecute our employees, me included.”

More about Greenpeace Russia

Greenpeace, which originated from the anti-nuclear and counterculture movement of the late 1960s, has grown to become one of the world’s largest and most well-known environmental organizations. It operates in more than 50 countries.

In 1995, Greenpeace Russia took the initiative to secure UNESCO protection for the Virgin Komi Forests, marking the first site in Russia to receive such recognition.

Through their efforts, Greenpeace Russia not only helped these areas attain prestigious international World Heritage status but also thwarted over 10 destructive gold mining endeavors in the region.

Over the span of three decades, their work has contributed to the UNESCO World Heritage designation of other significant Russian territories, including the Volcanoes of Kamchatka and Lake Baikal.

Collaborating with volunteers, Greenpeace engages in forest planting and protection within national parks, and battles forest fires in nature reserves across the Urals, Siberia, and the Far East.

Greenpeace Russia has long fought against hazardous toxic pollution, particularly dioxins and other harmful substances, by preventing the import of hazardous waste from other countries.

Working in conjunction with volunteers, Greenpeace has conducted patrols to identify and remedy oil spills in the North and Siberia. Notably, their efforts led to Norilsk Nickel being fined an unprecedented sum of approximately two billion dollars for the extensive oil spill in Norilsk in 2020.

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