Last Sunday dove into the canals on a polar bear . Three days later we knew why: the Russian energy company Gazprom puts in a bizarre movie that they give the polar bear to the city of Amsterdam. Or not? Nrc.nl went to investigate.
A polar bear on a boat
Sunday enter the boat through the canals. When we knew nothing. What we saw: a polar bear in a cage, on a small boat, with a brass band that played lively tunes. The Amsterdam news station AT5 got this picture sent by Hans:
The statement: Gazprom Artis gives a polar bear
The day before yesterday was a video posted on YouTube that explained the mysterious polar bear. The Russian oil company Gazprom shall explain that she along with Shell drilling in the Arctic for oil and gas. To celebrate this collaboration Gazprom decided to give. A special gift to the Dutch people
2013 is the year of ecology for Gazprom, says the voice over with a strong Russian accent. So the company has been helping reindeer, rare birds and salmon move from places where the company drills.
Now, they are proud to announce, they have a "mighty polar bear named Petrov", found on one of the fields of Gazprom, captured and brought to Amsterdam. For the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam, who for years has no more polar bear.
The movie did the rounds quickly on Twitter, which include musician Moby wondered why his music in the video is used:
The site: Shell and Gazprom cooperate before the North Pole
We come from the film off at the site polar-partners.com .
"Welcome to website celebrating partnership for Arctic oil project of two mighty companies: Gazprom, Russian energy leader, and Royal Dutch Shell, Anglo-Dutch company with impeccable history of extraction in many fields worldwide."
There is also explained more about the incident. In not too good English:
"We, Gazprom, the world give precious energy resources that'll make the world go. Polar Now thanks to our partner Royal Dutch Shell, we will get ever more energy from the Russian Arctic.
To thank our friends at Dutch Shell for helping to exploit this fixed resource, we had to give them a permanent gift. But Dutch are well to do. What to give to a man who has everything?
We racked our brains, but finally found an answer in an old news story. It was very sad to learn That about a decade ago, the polar bear at the Amsterdam Zoo died of heart attack during ear surgery. She was never replaced. Until now! "
Catch the conscious polar bear is extensively explained in words and pictures on the site.
"Our hunt begins near Russia's Prirazlomnoye Oil Fields, where we would prefer not to be bears. They have no interest in the industry."
"Do not be fooled by how 'cute' this looks. The animal is very heavy and requires large helicopter to lift it."
If there were any doubts about the absurdity of a polar bear in a cage on a boat through Amsterdam, or Gazprom's foreign idea as mega polluter to save a polar bear, and to donate to the Dutch people then who certainly after seeing this bizarre site.
Gazprom would really be so blind that they think such a campaign distracts from drilling in the Arctic? In addition come the bad English, the weird texts, the strange pictures, and this is not the Russian President Putin who sits in the anesthetized polar bear?
Is this really what it seems? That "Timur Grigolyuk, the director of Polar Partners, Gazprom's new venture with Royal Dutch Shell" is that it? He will work with Gazprom? The name does not result.
Herman Kievits then, "vice president of external communications" at Shell, the bear takes delivery.
Or is it?
Strangely so, all together. We decide Polar Partners' contact us at the number listed on the site. And from that moment it gets confusing. No, says a man with perfect English accent on the other end of the line, we are really Gazprom. This campaign is real.
They have been called by other media, the somehow think this is a joke, but it is absolutely not. "It's just a big cultural difference between the Russians and the West, this is how Russians do," he explains. The gift of giving way to such animals as normal. And it is in honor of the year of the Dutch-Russian cooperation. "I Can Assure You That it's true," he adds.
Where is the polar bear now? According to the man, who introduces himself as Joseph R. Stuart, spokesman for Gazprom, there has been a little misunderstanding. The bear is not actually at Artis, because Shell and Gazprom had not yet clear who would have the responsibility to bear. Therefore, he is now well looked after by specialists from Russia, in a warehouse just outside Amsterdam.
We do not trust it at all. Since the bear is not Artis, it makes no sense to call the zoo but Shell, to know something, right? On inquiry, it appears not. They are already called about that 22th August, but they have been given Gazprom a polar bear she unknown.
Gazprom we try to call. Three times on different numbers The first press officer who answers, only speaks Russian. The second hangs without explanation when we ask if he speaks English. The latter does not repeatedly.
The suspicion arises, increasingly, that this is a typical action for Greenpeace. The environmental organization is currently working on an action surrounding the drilling of oil in the Arctic. Then we trace the so-called IP address of the server where the site was. That server proved to the site to share with the home page of a web designer who previously action site built for Greenpeace.
Greenpeace Netherlands says when asked not to sit. Behind the action Greenpeace International could have done it, they say there. But if we ask for it, they have no idea. "Which site do you say this tells me nothing. I'll call you back about it," said the lady on the line. That does not happen.
Back to square one
And so we have no other than the man with the sympathetic English accent, Joseph R. Stuart, another call back. I do not trust it, I put it on. Your English is perfect, while the site is drawn in broken English. Timur Grigolyuk I do not find on the Internet, Herman Kievits who is not in the picture, I find your address anywhere else on the site Gazprom, Putin stands next to the polar bear, your IP address traced Shell I know a Greenpeace site, nothing. How do you explain this? Are not you just a pressure group, Greenpeace, for example?
Stuart manages to parry all my questions insists. Not everyone in the Polar Partners team can be as good English as he Grigolyuk works there only recently, and can you tell me more about that Greenpeace site? Of course we do not want, Gazprom being, associated with such organizations. We are certainly not Greenpeace, but Gazprom, is the mantra that is repeated again and again.
Stuart sends a mail back:
"Thank you for your phone call. We are seeking to address concerns That You and others have voiced Regarding the veracity of this initiative.
I can assurement you thatthis event was indeed organized by Gazpromneft and its contractions tees, and is in keeping with similar partnerships Which you can discover on our website [this website is really seen as Gazprom, ed.] Ceremonial gifts are a key part of Russian cultural heritage and are intensely popular in the country.
[...] We wish to note usefull That Gazprom has a long history of helping animals. Axis part of "Year of Ecology," We Have Helped populations of reindeer , birds and salmon while simultaneously preserving wildlife photography on the International Space Station [also this all seems really, ed]. "
Striking detail, Stuart mails from an '@ gazprom-press.com' address, but is originally from a Google address:
And then another:
"I just spoke with our legal department. They have requested That You thesis discuss allegations with them before any broadcast or libelous story suggesting connections with radical groups. The publication or misleading information could cause irreparable damage to high-value relationships with our partners zoals Royal Dutch Shell. PLC, who are the target of frequent Such organizations. "
In the mail, please refer to Nikolai Dubik, with a Russian song. That really shows in Gazprom to work .
And then ...
The confusion in the newsroom is complete. It seems too absurd to be true, but the man on the phone maintains and Nikolai Dubik is really Gazprom. The sites Gazprom and Polar Partners are sometimes barely apart to keep. Here is an organized group of actors behind, or the story is really true?
We decide about it overnight as well. And then the answer comes in the form of a new mail:
"Greenpeace Netherlands was not Involved in this action - it was organized by the Yes Lab with some help from Greenpeace International in the USA We enjoyed the project and hope you did too Please feel free to email me back for any questions at all... "
In an accompanying press release is explained that the Yes Lab ("The Yes Lab is devoted to helping progressive organizations and individuals carry out media-getting creative actions around well-considered goals") and indeed Greenpeace still behind the action, with statements like :
"Our polar bear circus was absolutely insane, but not half as insane as Gazprom and Shell's Arctic deal. They want to exploit melting sea ice to drill for more oil. Shell screwed up badly in Alaska last year, so they're taking advantage of Russia's weaker regulations to take huge risks instead over there. " - James Turner, Greenpeace International.
"It's a national embarrassment That the most famous Dutch company is teaming up with one of the world's most Notoriously corrupt state-owned corporations. Shell used to have standards, did not they?" - Richelle Dumond, Dutch activist and volunteer at Yes Lab.
"Gazprom made it very easy for us. Their actual PR is extremely inspiring." - Andy Bichlbaum, Yes Men.
"If you want a good laugh, just take a look at what Gazprom writes about reindeer, birds and salmon for Their "Year of Ecology" page. " - Mike Bonanno, Yes Men.
"Not to mention launching a USB key with animal jpegs into outerspace. Now that's inspiring." - Sean Devlin, Yes Lab
The real hoax is the polar bear, but according to Greenpeace International that Shell and Gazprom them have managed to convince the world that they can drill in the Arctic, and that they "are not responsible for the collapse of our ecosystems."
But who was that Joseph R. Stuart then? "Joseph R. Stuart was a member of the campaign team - I can not say any more than that," replied James Turner from Greenpeace.
And the bear? That was not real. It was a berencostuum, that in this video, can barely be distinguished from a previous campaign by Greenpeace, is: