Putin
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Vladimir Putin appears to be experiencing uncharacteristic feelings of humanity. And that’s wonderful news for a crew of daring Greenpeace activists, among many others.

The Russian president has drafted an amnesty bill, posted on the Kremlin’s website Monday and submitted to Russia’s parliament, that could affect tens of thousands of activists and political prisoners in the country.

According to Al Jazeera English, Russia’s Izvestia news outlet reported that government sources have confirmed that the amnesty would apply to the Greenpeace 30. It might also free members of Pussy Riot.

The Greenpeace 30 were arrested after some of them scaled a Russian oil rig during a late September protest. They were charged by Russian prosecutors with the crime of piracy, then with hooliganism, and belatedly granted bail last month. Here is word of the latest developments from the BBC:

Mr Putin’s amnesty bill has been submitted to parliament, to mark the Russian constitution’s 20th anniversary on Thursday. …

The amnesty bill does not name those who would be pardoned, but lists categories covered. …

The deputy speaker of the Duma, Vladimir Vasilyev, said about 25,000 people would benefit from the amnesty, most of whom were not given prison terms. About 2,000 prisoners would be among that 25,000, as well as almost 6,000 who could see charges against them dropped.

Some are suggesting that this apparent outburst of goodwill is related to Russia’s hosting of the Winter Olympics in early 2014. If that’s true, then let’s petition the International Olympic Committee to hold games only in oppressive states from now on.