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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Greenpeace: watching Western investors

Russian-born American Dmitry Litvinov's ties with the Soviet Union run deep. He's been exiled, deported, and jailed. But despite his gripping experiences, he's committed to teaching Russians "environmental democracy".


Litvinov, with his father, was exiled to Siberia when he was 6 years old and fled to the United States when he was 12. At the age of 28, he and a handful of colleagues aboard the M. V. Greenpeace were imprisoned for entering restricted waters near the arctic island of Novaya Zemlya.


Two years later and one jail experience wiser, Litvinov, now 30, is in Moscow with a one-year contract as international campaign coordinator for Greenpeace. But the experience from the fall of 1990 is still fresh in his mind. The border guards who arrested them puzzled over the bearded, bespectacled young American who spoke fluent Russian.


After 10 days, Litvinov was released, and phoned bis grandfather to tell him about it. "Oh great", his grandfather said, "We now have a third generation of convicts in the family".


His step-great-grandfather. Maxim Litvinov, as foreign minister under Lenin and Stalin, removed the Jewish Bolsheviks in the 1930s to appease Hitler. His grandfather, Lev Korelev, was a dissident writer who shared a cell with Solzhenitsyn in the gulag and later became the main character Lev Rubin in Solzhenitsyn's "The First Circle". Litvinov's father, a well known physicist and friend of Andrei Sakharov, protested the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. He was exiled to Siberia with his son. In 1974 the family was deported to the United States. In spite of his family's harsh treat


ment by the Soviet regime, Litvinov returned to help clean up Russia. "The environment is a mess here", he said. and he believes it is his duty to teach Russians how to safeguard it from pollution.


Clad in blue jeans, a Greenpeace save-the-dolphins T-shirt, a gold earring, leather beaded necklace and a knotted leather bracelet, Litvinov looks like a Berkeley, California, hippie. But he takes his mission seriously, saying he's here to teach a lesson in "environmental democracy", and he believes that his Russian roots will help him get the message across.


To achieve his goals, Litvinov plans to expand the Greenpeace staff, increase its research into environmental damage caused by the nuclear and oil industries and use the data to assist the government in taking precaution.


Guarding the untainted areas of Russia is one of Greenpeace's primary goals, Litvinov said. He's particularly concerned about "dirty capital", which he described as sloppy technology used by Western companies seeking to profit from an investment-hungry Russia. In order to raise consciousness about an already-fragile ecological balance, Greenpeace will conduct a series of awareness campaigns, using their ships


- Beluga, Rainbow Warrior and Solo


- to sail to the eastern coast. White Sea and Lake Ladoga next summer.


Litvinov also wants to make sure that laws are being enforced and plans to lobby in Russia's parliament. Looking at all foreign investment with a jaundiced eye, he said, "We are watching you".