–The Goldman prize is a welcome acknowledgement of the work we have done in Bellona. It is a confirmation of the fact that the damage our planet suffered during the cold war, can only be repaired through our acting together, says Aleksandr Nikitin.
Nikitin will not attend the ceremony in San Fransisco, as the Russian government does not allow him to leave St. Petersburg while investigations are not closed. As should be known, Nikitin was arrested on basis of his work on the Bellona report on the Russian Northern Fleet in February last year. On December 14 he was released after 10 months in custodial isolation in St. Petersburg. Although Nikitin now has been released, he has not been aquitted. The case has been returned to FSB in St. Petersburg for further investigations – and neither Nikitin nor his lawyers have any idea as to what the outcome may be, or when there will be a court trial.
The prize will be received by Nikitin’s wife Tatjana, who is in USA together with Bellona leader Frederic Hauge and co-author of the Northern Fleet report Thomas Nilsen.
The Goldman Environmental Prize is granted by the Goldman Environmental Foundation, which was founded in 1989, to grass root environmetalists. Among former winners is Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was executed by the Nigerian dictatorship for his work on the environment and human rights issues in the African country. Seven persons from all parts of the world are hounored today with the 75,000 USD Goldman Prize each. Since the beginning more than 100 persons has received the prize.