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.
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 a million others in calling for his release, and the rest of the Arctic 30.