Sergei Mitrokhin becomes the first Russian politician to participate in the People’s Meeting in Denmark
Press Release, 16.06.2015
All Danish political parties, national non-governmental organisations and political active citizens are taking place in the event. Sergei Mitrokhin is the first Russian citizen who was invited to take part in the Folkemødet.
YABLOKO leader was invited to Bornholm by YABLOKO sister party – Det Radikale Venstre, a Danish party of social liberalism. Both YABLOKO and Det Radikale Venstre are members of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and Liberal International.
Sergei Mitrokhin’s programme included his meeting with Danish public where the Russian politician spoke about the situation in Russia and the activities of the YABLOKO party, as well as answered numerous questions of the participants. Danes were interested in how the Russian opposition lined up a dialogue with the authorities, how Denmark could help Russia in its progress towards democracy. Sergei Mitrokhin told them that the authoritarian government was not interested in democratisation of Russia, and it was no use to conduct a dialogue with it, however it was much more important to establish direct contact with the civil society and the opposition, but at the moment this dialogue is virtually nonexistent.
Sergei Mitrokhin also participated in the discussion on the image of Russia in the Western media and the image of the West in the Russian media. Other speakers were Vibeke Sperling, journalist and writer, Karsten Fledelius, head of the Danish Helsinki Committee, Andreas Wenger, Director of Danish Institute for International Studies.
YABLOKO leader said that the image of the West as pictured by Russian media had been considerably distorted for the purposes of propaganda and freedom of speech was nonexistent as such. “Even when oppositional politicians are invited to speak at the national television channels, as a rule they are not allowed to say anything. A discussion is organised in such a way that one oppositional politician has to face from six to eight opponents, the anchor inclusive,” he noted. The European participants of the debate reacted on this with bewilderment and laughter.
The debate also evolved around creation of a media in the European Union which could broadcast on Russia. Sergei Mitrokhin said that Russian society was in dire need of any sources of information that could provide an alternative to the propagandistic federal TV channels.
“Western radio stations played a big role in the democratisation of the Soviet Union, and I myself listened to those stations then. It could be very useful in a situation when we are coming back to the Soviet times, ” Mitrokhin said.
The politician praised the work of the TV channel Euronews, but noted that it covered events in Russia on a small scope.
Sergei Mitrokhin also had a meeting with Mr Morten Østergaard, leader of Det Radikale Venstre and Deputy Prime Minister of Denmark, Danish Minister for Economic and Internal Affairs. They discussed issues of international politics, Russia’s relations with the West and YABLOKO interaction with Det Radikale Venstre.
In addition, YABLOKO leader also met with Ms Vivien Life, British Ambassador to Denmark, who was invited to Bornholm to participate in the celebrations of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, and held many meetings with activists from Det Radikale Venstre and Danish public participating in the event.