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Majority of Russians Think Greenpeace Arrests Appropriate

The majority of Russians approve of the piracy charges against 28 Greenpeace activists who were detained in late September after trying to climb an Gazprom-owned oil drilling rig in the Arctic to protest its environmental impact.

A survey from state pollster VTsIOM published Wednesday showed that 60 percent of the respondents believe the government measures applied to the activists were "appropriate."

Seventeen percent of respondents thought that the arrest and detentions were too harsh, while 8 percent said they thought the government's response was too soft.

At least 14 crew members of a Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, who tried to place a Greenpeace banner on the Prirazlomnaya platform owned by Gazprom Neft on Sept. 19, were hit with piracy charges Wednesday.

Russian authorities said the arrests were warranted because the activists' actions took place in Russia's exclusive economic zone and could have endangered those working on the Prirazlomnaya oil rig. Greenpeace insisted that the Arctic Sunrise was located in international waters and that the protest was peaceful.

The poll surveyed 1600 people in 42 regions last Saturday and Sunday. It carried a 3.4 percent margin of error.

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