Paul McCartney has posted a letter he has written to Vladimir Putinonline, which urges the Russian president to release the 28 Greenpeaceactivists and journalists who were arrested after a protest at an oil-drilling rig in September.
Posting on his personal blog, the former Beatle expressed his hope to have the “misunderstanding resolved” and requested that the protesters, who face charges of hooliganism, be home in time for Christmas. He assures that Greenpeace are peaceful protesters, stating that “non-violence is an essential part of who they are”.
Vladimir Putin and Paul McCartney
Originally sent on 14 October, McCartney, who expresses his concerns in a polite and restrained tone, shares his concerns that the Arctic 30, who were this week moved from Murmansk to pre-trial detention centres in Saint Petersburg, are being “portrayed in some quarters as being anti-Russian, that they were doing the bidding of western governments, and that they threatened the safety of the people working on that Arctic oil platform.”
“I see you yourself have said that they are not pirates – well, that’s something everybody can agree on. Just as importantly, they don’t think they are above the law. They say they are willing to answer for what they actually did, so could there be a way out of this, one that benefits everybody?
Vladimir, millions of people in dozens of countries would be hugely grateful if you were to intervene to bring about an end to this affair. I understand of course that the Russian courts and the Russian Presidency are separate. Nevertheless I wonder if you may be able to use whatever influence you have to reunite the detainees with their families?”
Referencing the 1968 track Back in the USSR, the singer goes on to say that the track was written back when “It wasn’t fashionable to English people to say nice things about your country.”
“That song had one of my favourite Beatles lines in it: “Been away so long I hardly knew the place, gee it’s good to be back home,” he added.
In an introductory paragraph on his website, McCartney says that while Putin had not yet responded a month after the letter was sent, the Russian Ambassador to Britain had explained that the current situation of the detainees “is not properly represented in the world media”.
The letter concludes in hope that Putin would meet with McCartney in Moscow, “when our schedules allow”.