Sergei Mitrokhin discussed problems of Eastern partnership in the European Parliament
Press Release, 18.06.2015
Politicians from Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia, Slovenia, Russia and MEPs participated in the event.
The anchors at the round table were Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the ALDE Group, MEP, ex-Prime Minister of Belgium, who was included in the Russia’s “black list” of persona non grata, and Pavel Telička, Vice-President of the ALDE Group, MEP.
The event was also attended by Věra Jourová, European Commission for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.
“The more authoritarian and aggressive the regime in Russia is and the more it is in confrontation with the West, the greater is our need in international platforms for dialogue. When dialogue with the Russian authorities becomes senseless for Europe, the need in a dialogue with the society increases. Russians are in need of information that would present an alternative to the propaganda from the [Russian] state television channels. I support the idea of creating an alternative network in the European Union broadcasting for Russia, which would oppose propaganda with objective information,” Sergei Mitrokhin said.
YABLOKO leader entered into a dispute with Mikhail Kasyanov, leader of the RPR-PARNAS party and former Russian Prime Minister, who said that his government had conducted progressive reforms.
“It is impossible in politics to support people with eclectic views like SPS (Union of Right-Wing Forces) and Mikhail Kasyanov did supporting Putin in 2000. Vladimir Putin then had a mixture of pro-European views and “traditional” values, therefore YABLOKO did not support him and put forward an alternative – Grigory Yavlinsky, a polician with clear values. And Vladimir Putin’s eclectic views quickly led to an elimination of the [independent] NTV television channel, arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and rigged elections to the State Duma,” Mitrokhin noted.
“I do not understand what Mikhail Kasyanov calls ‘progressive reforms’ of the time. For us it was clear then, “who Mr Putin was” precisely because of this eclecticism. Today, our colleagues are doing the same thing by entering into alliances with new eclectic politicians who demonstrate a mixture of pro-European, nationalism and populism, ” YABLOKO leader said.
“Many people forget in their present criticism of Vladimir Putin that they bear direct political responsibility for the policies they are criticizing today. This concerns not only Russian politicians, but also those Western officials and MEPs, who for pragmatic reasons turned a blind eye to the authoritarian tendencies of his [Putin’s] governing after he came to power, ” Sergei Mitrokhin said at a press lunch after the round table.
The European Parliament also discussed the situation with political prisoners. There are 80 political prisoners in Azerbaijan, six in Belarus; whereas the number of political prisoners in Belarus has dropped considerably. Sergei Mitrokhin quoted the data of the Memorial society, according to which, there were 45 political prisoners in Russia, and the number of political prisoners in Russia has increased. YABLOKO leader recalled the illegal arrest of environmentalist Evgeny Vitishko and persecution of YABLOKO members in Karelia.
At the end of the roundtable, journalists asked Sergei Mitrokhin about the recent legislative initiatives of the Russian authorities. YABLOKO leader noted that they are all of these initiatives were targeted at restricting the rights and freedoms of citizens.