Two Canadian members of the Arctic 30 relive their experience in a Russian jail

Greenpeace activist Alexandre Paul waves to supporters as he arrives at Montreal Airport, Friday, December 27, 2013. Alexandre Paul was among 30 members of Greenpeace arrested at a September protest outside a Russian oil rig in the Arctic. (CP/Graham Hughes)


Three and half months ago, Alexandre Paul, fellow Canadian Paul Ruziki and 28 other Greenpeace activists set sail for the Arctic, to bring attention to oil exploration. They were seized by commandos, thrown in a Russian prison, and initially charged with piracy. We speak with both Canadians who were aboard the Arctic Sunrise.

Seized upon by commandos, thrown in a Russian prison, and initially charged with piracy. It's been a harrowing time, but one with few regrets ...


Canadian Greenpeace activist Paul
Ruzycki at a district court in Murmansk,
Russia. REUTERS/Sergei Eshchenko

There was panic and confusion on board the Arctic Sunrise as Russian soldiers stormed the ship to arrest Greenpeace activists this past September.

The military moved in after protesters scaled a Russian oil drilling platform in the Pechora Sea.

The Arctic 30 -- as they're now called -- were arrested and put in prison--first in Murmansk, then in St. Petersburg.... where they faced a possible fifteen year sentence for piracy.

But, after three months of international turmoil and as the world turns it's eyes to Sochi for the Winter Olympics... Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned the group.

Canadians Paul Ruzycki and Alexandre Paul were among the Greenpeace activists who were arrested. The pair landed back on Canadian soil just last week.

  • Paul Ruzycki was in Port Colborne, Ontario. This is his first national interview since being released.

  • Alexandre Paul was in Montreal.


Greenpeace activist Dima Litvinov upon his arrival in Stockholm, Dec. 27th, 2013. (AP/Erik Martensson)

Back in October Anna Maria Tremonti spoke with the father of Dima Litvinov, one of the other Greenpeace activists who had been jailed in Russia.

Dima is now free, but at the time he was the third generation in his family to be sent to a Russian prison. Both his father and his grandfather were jailed for running afoul of the Soviet authorities.

Dima's father, Pavel Litvinov is a former Soviet dissident who now lives in the United States.

Here is our interview with Dima's Father, Pavel Litvinov:

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This segment was produced by The Current's Sarah Grant.

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