Russia Charges Greenpeace Activists With Piracy

Greenpeace activist Sini Saarela from Finland (L) is escorted at a district court in Murmansk September 29, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Eshchenko

The federal Investigative Committee said authorities had begun charging 30 people arrested after the protest last month, in which a Greenpeace icebreaker approached the Prirazlomnaya platform and two activists tried to scale the rig – a crucial part of Russia’s effort to mine Arctic resources. By midday, five people had been charged, Greenpeace said – Brazilian crew member Ana Paula Alminhana, Russian activist Roman Dolgov, Finnish activist Sini Saarela, British freelance videographer Kieron Bryan, and Dima Litvinov, an activist with Swedish and U.S. citizenship. “It is an extreme and disproportionate charge,” Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said. “A charge of piracy is being laid against men and women whose only crime is to be possessed of a conscience. This is an outrage and represents nothing less than an assault on the very principle of peaceful protest.” A court in the northern city of Murmansk last week ordered all 30 people from 18 countries who had been aboard the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise to be held in custody for two months pending further investigation. The Investigative Committee said authorities had begun to charge the activists on Wednesday but gave no details. The environmental group says the protest was peaceful and posed no threat, and that piracy charges have no merit in international or Russian law. President Vladimir Putin said last week the protesters were clearly not pirates but they had violated international law. The Investigative Committee said on Monday peaceful aims would not justify what it has called an “attack” that posed a threat to the platform and its personnel. Prirazlomnaya, Russia’s first offshore oil rig in the Arctic, is slated to start operating by the end of the year and is expected to reach peak production of 6 million tonnes per year (120,000 barrels per day) in 2019. Russia, whose slowing economy is heavily reliant on income from energy exports, hopes Arctic oil and gas will help fuel future growth. Putin, whose current term ends in 2018, has described Arctic shipping and development and last month announced plans to reopen a Soviet-era military base in the region.

Russia must change growth model, says CEO

Markets open in 2 hrs 4 mins Russia must change growth model, says CEO By Holly Ellyatt | CNBC Tue, Oct 1, 2013 1:21 AM EDT View Photo Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images Russia needs to drop its consumption-led growth model behind if it wants its economy to grow, the global chief executive of Russian investment business VTB Capital, told CNBC. “Long-term, Russia’s growth outlook is dependent on structural reforms. Future growth is about investment demand and you need to mobilize private sectors’ resources to do this,” Alexei Yakovitsky from VTB Capital, a part of the Russian banking group, said on Tuesday. His comments on growth come a week after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut Russia’s 2013 growth forecast to 1.5 percent from 2.5 percent. Reducing the country’s growth forecasts for the third time this year, the fund also slashed its 2014 forecast, predicting growth of 3 percent rather than the previously expected 3.9 percent. Although Russia’ growth had come in softer than expected so far this year, Yakovitsky expected a pick-up in the remainder of the year and further improvement in 2014. Russian said to have billions ) “We do expect stronger growth of 3 percent next year on the back of infrastructure investments coming in and we do think the monetary authorities will move towards some kind of monetary loosening to stimulate and propel short-term growth.” With inflation running at 6.3 percent as of September above the Bank of Russia’s target of 5-6 percent, however, the central bank has been reluctant to loosen its monetary policy by cutting key interest rates, despite ebbing growth figures. government late Monday began its first partial shutdown in 17 years after Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on a spending bill, the result of an impasse that does not bode well for the larger challenge of avoiding a default by raising the U.S. debt ceiling on October 17. Yakovitsky said investors would be in “wait-and-see” mode in the short-term regarding the U.S. but he didn’t believe emerging markets like Russia would suffer over the impasse.