Free Nikitin Hot Commodity

Publish date: April 26, 2000

Written by: Thomas Jandl

U.S. environmental, human rights and scientific organizations waste no time in getting Bellona's Aleksandr Nikitin, who has been kept under city arrest in St. Petersburg for more than four years, to share his experience in the United States. Nikitin's travel agent is in for a treat.

Only a day after the Supreme Court confirmed the acquittal of Aleksandr Nikitin, the co-author of Bellona’s Northern Fleet report, invitations are coming in to invite Nikitin to the United States.

The San Francisco-based Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund had already invited Nikitin to a reunion of Goldman Prize winners in Washington in July. Nikitin won the award, often referred to the Nobel Prize for the Environment, in 1997.

The day after the acquittal, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS), the world’s largest scientific organization with 160,000 members, issued an invitation for Nikitin to attend the annual meeting of the group. Nikitin had won the AAAS Scientific Freedom and Responsibility award in 2000. A summary of the award ceremony can be found in the March 31 issue of Science.

Nikitin has also been short-listed as a candidate for awards at other scientific and human rights organizations.

In addition to the recognitions, a number or organizations focusing on environmental and human rights issues in Russia have proposed congressional hearings on the situation in Russia, with Nikitin as a witness. With congressional interest in the area of international assistance to Russia, such hearings could be held in fall of 2000.

With his travel schedule shaping up fast, Nikitin will have fairly little time to celebrate his – and all Russia’s – legal victory.

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