FSB detained environmentalist in Murmansk region

Publish date: June 1, 2004

Written by: Rashid Alimov

On May 27th, 12 a.m., the police and the FSB,former KGB, agents in the city of Polyarnye Zori, Murmansk region, detained environmentalist Andrey Ozharovsky.

All his documents were in order and he did not commit any illegal actions, radio Echo Moscow reported.

“They detained me and brought to the police station, and after that, during three hours, I was interrogated by FSB”, — Ozharovsky told Bellona Web.

On his way from Moscow to Murmansk, Andrei visited Environmental Rights Center Bellona, Bellona’s St.Petersburg branch, where he received recent issues of the Environment and Rights magazine, copies of the Arctic Nuclear Challenge Bellona’s report and also participated in a seminar of the School of environmental journalists — an educational project of ERC Bellona.

Ozharovsky lives in Moscow but at that moment he was engaged in “Project Imandra” and was arranging environmental literature exhibitions in the small towns around Imandra lake in Murmansk region. He intended to give as a present to the local libraries translations of classical world environmental ethics, American environmental philosophers Tom Reagan "Defending Animal Rights" , Jack Turner, English environmental theolog Andrew Linzey. Besides, he planned to present book by Kuznetsov “The Main Problems and Current Condition of Safety at Nuclear Fuel Enterprises” and by Chuprov “How much is nuclear electricity”. These books are especially actual in the towns near the Kola nuclear power plant. The libraries of Olenegorsk, Monchegorsk, Apatity, Polyarnie Zori and Kandalaksha could also receive the recent issues of Environment and Rights magazine from St Petersburg.

The FSB’s interest was likely provoked by the antinuclear books and magazines. The police searched Ozharovsky several times, checked all the books and tried to get phone numbers from his mobile phone in order to find out who among local environmentalists helped him to distribute the information. The police refused to issue or show him a record of detainment, what violates the Russian law.

“They’ve made no record of detainment at all. And I did ask them several times, ‘what is my detainee status witness or accused?’ The answer was, ‘you’re detained for identification, who you are’”, — Anrei Ozharovsky told Bellona Web.

“Polyarnye Zory is an open city where any Russian citizen is allowed to enter. Probably those Russians who criticize atomic energy, are not welcome here. The local authorities probably wanted to demonstrate this” Ozharovsky said. “It seems like the Soviet times come back when critics of the state policy by an ordinary man meant serious trouble for him”.

In spite of the incident with his detainment, Ozharovsky is content with the results of his visit.

“Thank you for the books and magazines — I’ve given them all out — they meet a huge interest — possibly, you’ll get a lot of requests for subscription”, — Ozharovsky wrote today in an e-mail message to ERC Bellona.