Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Activists Detained Over Giant Blow-Up Whale Protest Near Kremlin

Activists rowed into the river with a blow-up whale bearing the slogan: "Thanks for letting us go, don't catch us anymore." Denis Sinyakov / Greenpeace

Russian police detained two activists on Monday after they floated a giant inflatable killer whale on the Moscow River outside the Kremlin to call on authorities to protect the creatures, protesters said.

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace said it had staged the stunt to urge authorities to ban the capture of whales for educational or cultural purposes after dozens of beluga and killer whales were caught last year to be sold to marine parks or aquariums in China.

The captured whales became a cause celebre when they were kept in cramped enclosures in Russia's Far East that were likened by activists to a whale prison. The whales were released back into the wild earlier this year after the outcry.

On Monday, activists rowed into the river with a blow-up whale bearing the slogan: "Thanks for letting us go, don't catch us anymore."

Police detained the activists as well as a photographer for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, Greenpeace said in a statement. The Interior Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Novaya Gazeta said its photographer was later released.

"Until there is a ban on catching killer whales, belugas and other types of whale for educational or cultural purposes ... they can be caught again and sold to China," an activist said.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.