Poll: Detention of Greenpeace activists was legitimate

The Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise" was detained in the Pechora Sea on September 18. (Photo: Will Rose/Greenpeace)

Half of the respondents in a recent poll by the Russian analytical bureau Levada-Center knew nothing or very little about the arrest of the 30 Greenpeace activists. Of those who know the story, more than half approves the authorities’ reactions: arrest and charges.


As many as 35% of the 1603 persons the Levada-Center asked, had never heard about the arrest of the Greenpeace activists, while another 15% had “heard something, but cannot remember what it was all about”. 38% said they know about the case “in broad terms” and 10% said they followed the case closely through information on the Internet and mass media.

The poll, which was conducted on October 25-28 in 130 different towns all over Russia, shows that although Russians to a large degree share Greenpeace’s ideas, they have little pity for the detained activists.

When asked about their opinion on the arrest of the activists and the charges of piracy by the Prosecution Office in Murmansk, as many as 56% of the respondents said that this was a just measure to take. 26% said it was just because “they created a real danger to production and the safety of the platform” while 30% think it was legitimate because “the Arctic is a region of Russian national interests, and one should protect them with all means”.

27% believe the arrest and charges on piracy were unjustified, either because “it was not a criminal act but a peaceful protest by ecologists against pollution” or because “Russian law enforcement organs in this case are only protecting the interests of large Russian oil oligarchs who are indifferent to the environment of people’s health”. 17% think the question is hard to answer.

On the question «How do you react towards the actions by Greenpeace activists, who are organizing large campaigns all over the world to protect the environment”, 18% answered “with approval” and 32% “with interest”. Only 8% said that they reacted “with indignation” and 14% “with disapproval”.

When asked “What is Greenpeace?” 54% of the respondents answered that it is “an environmental organization that sometimes uses controversial methods in their fight for the environment”, while 28% would call it a “lobbyist business structure that hiding behind ecologic banners are trying to push aside its sponsors’ competitors”.