Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 193

Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced on October 14 that it will demand an investigation into a case whereby a Russian citizen — a captain serving on a ship flying the Lithuanian flag — has been held by Norwegian authorities since March 19. Russian sources claim that no charges were brought against Valery Petrenko until early September, when he was accused of drug trafficking. They also claim that the real reason behind Petrenko’s detention is a desire by Norwegian intelligence to squeeze information from the former Soviet submarine captain. Petrenko launched a brief hunger strike on October 6 and, after rejecting the services of a Norwegian attorney, is now to be assisted by a Russian lawyer. (Itar-Tass, October 14)

A Moscow daily charged earlier this month that Petrenko’s arrest is an act of retaliation by Norwegian authorities for the long detention of retired Russian captain Aleksandr Nikitin by Russia’s Federal Security Service. (Segodnya, October 8) Nikitin, now out of prison, still faces a series of treason charges in Russia over work that he did for the Norwegian environmental group Bellona. Human rights groups in Russia and Europe have publicized his plight and called for the charges to be dropped. (See Monitor, September 30)

Crimean Parliament Gives Russian Language Monopoly Status.