‘We fight for freedom together’, VP Falkner tells Russian liberals
Liberal International, 15.10 2014
Liberal International’s Vice President, Baroness Kishwer Falkner, and LI Secretary General, Emil Kirjas, have addressed an international conference in Moscow on ‘liberal values versus a conservative trend in public and political life in Europe’, co-organised by LI full member, Yabloko, and LI cooperating organisation, ALDE Party.
In front of an international audience, Baroness Falkner set out clear dividing lines between liberal values and isolationist tendencies in European and Russian politics. “A patriot loves his country, a nationalist hates his neighbour; it is legitimate to be a patriot, it can even be noble, but when it is used to express hatred towards others it turns into nasty nationalism”, said the LI Vice President.
Shifting attention to Russia’s disregard for international cooperation as it continues its project of annexation in Crimea, Baroness Falkner added: “Russia’s leadership believes the world of zero sum: Ukraine loses, Russia wins. That is not how an interdependent world works.”
Emphasising that Russia’s liberals are not alone in their fight for a freer, outward-looking country, Kishwer Falkner concluded: “Isolationism never wins, freedom does. And that’s what the liberals know. Keep on working for freedom, dear Russian liberal friends, we fight for freedom together.”
Addressing Europe and the need to uphold the liberal values that bind the continent in the face of Russian hostility, LI Secretary General Kirjas delivered a clear message to the Russian authorities: “The Russian people wanted to be part of Europe – we as liberals have pushed for Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe. You subscribed to [the values], you follow it! You don’t want to follow it, you can simply leave!”
“We are not going to kick Russia out. We don’t want that. We just want Russia to follow the rules that it has subscribed to”, added Kirjas.
The original publication