Paul McCartney to Russia's Putin: Release the Arctic 30

In an letter written recently to Vladimir Putin, former ‘Fab Four’ rocker Paul McCartney urged the Russian president to “use whatever influence you have” to free the 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists currently held in a detention facility in St. Petersburg and reunite them with their families.

In the letter the former Beatle says that the “Arctic 30,” who were detained while protesting a Russian oil-rig in the Arctic, are peaceful protesters, stating that “non-violence is an essential part of who they are.”

“I see you yourself have said that they are not pirates—well, that’s something everybody can agree on,” McCartney writes.

McCartney notes that when he wrote the “song about Russia” 45 years ago, referring to the track Back in the U.S.S.R., “it wasn’t fashionable for English people to say nice things about your country.” However, that tune had one of McCartney’s favorite Beatles lines in it: “Been away so long I hardly knew the place, gee it’s good to be back home.”

“Could you make that come true for the Greenpeace prisoners?” he asks.

He continues:

The activists were recently transported from a prison in Murmansk in a “prison wagon” by train to a detention center in St Petersburg.

“It is not yet certain which SIZO (detention center) in St Petersburg they are being taken to or whether the new facility will represent an improvement on conditions compared with their detention in Murmansk,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

Ben Ayliffe, Greenpeace International Arctic campaigner, commented:

Read McCartney’s full letter below:

14th October 2013