Konstantin Smirnov, one of the leaders
of the Ryazan branch of Yabloko (LI full-member) was
arrested for 7 days for allegedly “disobeying the
lawful orders of the police” for participation in
the “For Fair Elections” rally organized in Ryazan
on December 8. Such an act was clearly politically
motivated as a video of Simonov's detention shows
that he did not disobey police orders. This follows
the biggest protests organized since the collapse
of the Soviet Union over the highly disputed Parliamentary
elections in the country which took place last week.
The leader of Yabloko, Sergei Mitrokhin, has asked
the Head of the Central Electoral Commission, Vladimir
Churov, to voluntarily leave his post saying “it is
Churov who is personally responsible for the scope
of the fraud that took place in the country on the
voting day.” LI Vice-President on the Bureau and Chair
of LI Human Rights Committee, Abir
Al-Sahlani MP, was part of an OSCE election observer
mission in Russia and witnessed first-hand the mass
violations committed during the electoral process.
Sunday’s parliamentary elections in
Russia in which the share of the vote for the ruling
United Russia party fell to below 50% and the protests
that have been taking place the last few days in which
increasing numbers of people have been making their
feelings known about the lack of free and fair elections
provide signs of hope for the free and democratic
future of Russia, not only that Russian people are
fed up with the current regime, but also that they
are willing to be more out spoken and to show their
displeasure with the way the elections were conducted.
However, the voting and counting procedures
themselves were riddled with claims of fraud, corruption
and intimidation. ELDR member party YABLOKO was the
only democratic opposition party allowed to participate
and, as such, its activists and voters were subjected
to high levels of intimidation and restrictions. Election
observers faced a similar set of circumstances and
the OSCE has reported fraudulent procedural violations
and instances of apparent manipulations, including
serious indications of ballot box stuffing...
OTTAWA— Liberal Leader Bob Rae made
the following statement today on the recent election
in Russia: "The people of Russia have voted and
have sent a strong message rejecting the kind of one-party
political domination that United Russia has been trying
to implement. The election results and the subsequent
protests demonstrate the need for the Russian political
process to be opened up to allow for the creation
of an effective opposition that would provide voters
with a meaningful alternative rather than the ideological
alternatives of communists and nationalists. The Liberal
Party calls on authorities to ensure that a viable
political space is opened up for an opposition that
is fully committed to democracy."
Liberal Foreign Affairs critic Dominic
LeBlanc continued: "The
recent election results, with incredible outcomes
of more than 90% of the population voting for United
Russia in some regions, have demonstrated how much
more needs to be done to build an effective democracy
in Russia. A strong commitment to making democracy
work from all the major political forces in Russia
can lead to positive change for the Russian people.
We are also concerned with the
tactics being used to deal with political demonstrations.
As we have seen on repeated occasions this year legitimate
protest cannot be effectively stifled by force. We
believe that it is important that Russians be given
the opportunity to express their commitment to building
a democratic Russia"...
Returning from an OSCE election observer
mission in Russia, LI
Vice-President on the Bureau, Abir Al-Sahlani,
expressed a great concern about the way in which the
recent Parliamentary elections were conducted in the
country. She commented saying "democracy is not
only about the election day itself but also about
the process before, during and after the elections.
The situation is worrisome and it will require closer
attention, especially with the upcoming presidential
elections in March 2012." Yabloko (LI full-member)
leader, Sergei Mitrokhin, also dismissed the election
results as illegitimate due to the mass violations
committed during the electoral process. Based on these
results Yabloko obtained only around 3 % of the popular
vote thus falling 4% short of making it to the State
Duma or the Russian Parliament. Mitrokhin was detained
by the Russian riot police at an opposition rally
in Moscow but was later released after showing his
certificate of candidate to the State Duma (until
the official announcement of the election results
candidates can be detained only with a Prosecutor's
BERLIN. Anlässlich der Festnahmen
von hunderten Demonstranten in Russland erklärt die
Sprecherin für Menschenrechte und humanitäre Hilfe
der FDP-Bundestagsfraktion Marina SCHUSTER:
Das Vorgehen russischer Sicherheitskräfte
gegen friedliche oppositionelle Demonstranten verurteilt
die FDP-Bundestagsfraktion auf das Schärfste. Die
vorübergehenden Festnahmen des früheren Vize-Regierungschefs
Boris Nemzow, des Oppositionspolitikers Sergej Mitrochin
von der liberalen Jabloko-Partei sowie die Inhaftierung
von Journalisten und Menschenrechtlern sind eine weitere
Stufe der Unterdrückung von menschenrechtlichen Grundprinzipien
in Russland. Während Putin noch vor und während der
jüngsten Wahl zur Duma versucht hatte, mit zahlreichen
Manipulationen und Einschüchterungen die "Wahlen"
zu seinen Gunsten zu entscheiden, bekämpft er nun
mit offener Gewalt die Bestrebungen der Demonstranten
für mehr Demokratie und Rechtstaatlichkeit.
Die Kader der Regierungspartei Einiges Russland mit
Putin und Medwedew an der Spitze zeigen ihr wahres
Gesicht und bekämpfen die Rechte auf Meinungs- und
Versammlungsfreiheit sowie körperliche Unversehrtheit
durch Festnahmen und Repressionen. So schaffen Putin
und Medwedew weder Stabilität noch Vertrauen in Russland,
sondern zeigen wie hoch nervös sie in Wahrheit sind.
Sie fürchten den berechtigten Zorn der Bürger... MORE
Natalya Yarigina, observer from the
COPRF (the communist party) in polling station No
2637 in Moscow, was detained by the police after she
refused to redistribute YABLOKO’s votes between United
Russia, CPRF and Just Russia parties and then called
head of the electoral commission a “groveller”, Yarigina
told to Gazeta.ru.
“Head of the commission Nadezhda Gazina
attacked me with fists when I asked her if she like
to be a groveller. Then her husband joined her. They
were pulled off by the students who were with us at
the polling station. Gazina complained on me at the
police stating that I had allegedly beaten her, now
I am taken to the police department and they are going
to file a criminal case against me,” Yarigina said.
According to Yarigina, head of the
electoral commission offered a bribe to all the members
of the electoral commission in exchange for their
“help” in counting of the votes given for YABLOKO
in favour of other parties passing into the State
Duma. “She explained us that everything had been determined
already and nothing depended on us, and this made
me revolt. At our polling station YABLOKO obtained
19.2 per cent. However, they probably do not have
it now already,” added the detained...
Nine hours after the voting at polling
station No 2648 at Ramenki street, Moscow, was finished,
policemen who refused to give their names, ousted
observers with a consultative voice from the polling
station, Alexandra Borisova, one of the observers,
told to Gazeta.ru.
“Throughout all this time we have
been preventing stuffing in of [faked] 182 ballots
in favour of the [ruling] United Russia. Consequently,
after Svetlana Makskova, head of the local electoral
commission, called the police Sergei Ovchinnikov,
representative of a territorial electoral commission
came and ordered the police to throw us behind the
door,” Borisova told. According to her, after the
first counting of the votes, the first place is taken
by the CPRF, the second is shared by United Russia
and YABLOKO, but the electoral commission refuses
to approve the final results of the voting. “Now they
are preparing to stuff in [faked bulletins in favour
of the ruling party]. In addition to 182 bulletins
we have detected, we suspect that they are ready for
a mass-scale fraud. There are 2,017 voters registered
at the polling station, and 1,800 bulletins were taken.
According to our estimations, 958 people have voted
since the beginning of the voting. And only 294 bulletins
were left, the question is where over 400 bulletins
are gone,” Borisova said...
Grigory Yavlinsky: Corruption and
lawlessness reached such a scope that the gap between
the society and the state became only broader. And
in Russia revolutions and coups d’etat happen exactly
when the gap between the society and the state becomes
deep, not during wars or famine or epidemics. Such
was the case in 1917 and 1991. A disruption and a
disaster. And not one comes into the streets to protest
when the state disappears. And then a republic emerges
on the place of an empire. And everyone is happy.
And then the republic is taken over by bandits who
set a dictatorship for 80 years.
Question: And is radicalisation of
the views and a new coup d’etat possible today?
Grigory Yavlinsky: No, there will
be no coup d’etats. A collapse is more likely. The
regime cannot help getting weaker. When a wall is
falling down you can try and prop it, but when all
the bricks are falling down – it can not be helped.
MOSCOW, December 1 (RIA Novosti)-Russia's
liberal Yabloko party has nominated its first leader
and co-founder, Grigory Yavlinsky, to run for president
in March next year.
Yabloko's co-leader Sergei Mitrokhin
said Yavlinsky could be the main opposition coalition
candidate but added that it was open for discussion.
"We do not wish to impose our
candidate, we wish to offer discussion on all candidates
at a primary election to which we invite all democratic
parties and organizations," Mitrokhin told a
news conference on Thursday...
Campaign ads by opposition parties
have been banned on state television by order of the
head of the Central Elections Commission, who has
no authority to do so, Vedomosti reported Monday.
Vladimir Churov's actions prompted a mutiny among
the commission's working group, whose job is to review
such videos, but which was only asked to do so after
they were banned, the newspaper said.
State-owned broadcaster VGTRK announced last week
that it was banning videos by Yabloko, A Just Russia
and the Liberal Democrats following a letter from
Churov, who said he suspected the ads promoted extremism
and targeted other parties...
The head of the Moscow metro ordered
election ads for the opposition party Yabloko to be
removed from stations and then threatened to cancel
a long-term contract with the advertising company
involved, the political group claimed.
In a statement posted on its web site Friday, Yabloko
— Russian for apple — said stickers reading: "Tired
of vegetables? Vote for YABLOKO" that were posted
Nov. 2 to 3 at the entrances to 85 stations were removed
just days later.
The removal followed a letter from metro chief Ivan
Besedin to the advertising company Avto Sell, saying
the notices "grossly violated" conditions
on political advertising, which require prior approval
by metro officials and City Hall's media department...
Today Sir Graham Watson MEP (UK LibDem)
was elected unopposed President of the party of European
Liberal Democrats (ELDR) at their Congress in Palermo
along with five vice-presidents (Marc Guerrero, Lousewies
van der Laan, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Leoluca Orlando,
Astrid Thors). Graham takes over from Annemie Neyts
(Open VLD, Belgium) who has led the Party since 2005.
Taking over the reins of the party
in the middle of one of the most serious crises of
Europe's history giving rise to increased euro scepticism
and threatening the very foundation of the EU itself
will present a major challenge for the Party which
believes strongly in European integration and solidarity.
Commenting on his election, Watson
"What Europe is lacking most of all at present
is a clear vision for the future. Neither the party
of the European Socialists nor the Christian Democrats
offer a solution. The former is stuck with an out
of date ideology and the latter is ridden by internal
contradictions. As Europeans we stand or fall together.
We must not give in to the rising tide of populism"...
Gathered in Palermo, Italy, the ELDR
Party today elected Sir Graham Watson (Liberal Democrats,
UK) to its new President for the coming two years!
In his speech, drawing on great liberal
thinkers from Adam Smith to Johan Norberg, Sir Graham
made a strong case for the need of liberal thought
in today’s Europe, and the central place for the ELDR
Party in this process. He promised to make ELDR stronger,
smarter and the supranational force in Europe.
The ELDR Party also elected five Vice
Presidents. While Marc Guerrero (CDC, Catalonia),
Lousewies van der Laan (D 66, The Netherlands) and
Leoluca Orlando (IDV, Italy) were re-elected for another
term; Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP, Germany) and
Astrid Thors (SFP, Finland) are new additions to the
ELDR Party Bureau.
All candidates were warmly welcomed
by some 500 European Liberals gathered in Palermo.
The ELDR Party would like to extend its congratulations
to all elected!
ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 16 (Interfax)
- Active involvement of voters in elections can be
a barrier to the attempts to distort the results of
the State Duma elections, said Grigory Yavlinsky,
YABLOKO party key figure.
"If the turnout is high, the
percentage of falsifications and manipulations will
be much smaller," he said at the Interfax press
conference in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.
He added that the result for his party
will also depend on the turnout - the higher the turnout,
the more votes and seats YABLOKO will be able to count
"In case of turnout over 60 per
cent, we can count on a good result," he said.
Speaking of the party ticket in St.
Petersburg, Yavlinsky said that in the city his party
can count on higher support than average in Russia.
"We can collect 15-17 per cent in St. Petersburg,"
Interview with Grigory Yavlinsky,
YABLOKO leader of election list, by Andrei Lipsky
and Andrei Kolesnikov
Novaya Gazeta: But will the non-democratic
protest electorate not vote for the Communists and
the LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia)?
Yavlinsky: Yes, they will. They certainly
will, and that is the problem. Open the Radio Liberty
website. There is a poll: "Whom would you vote
for next Sunday?" It goes approximately like
this: 30% for YABLOKO, 28% "I will not vote,"
but 20% for the Communists.
Novaya Gazeta: The picture is approximately
the same on our website.
Yavlinsky: That is the way it is going...
Novaya Gazeta: What is the nucleus
of YABLOKO's electorate today and what additions can
you count on from among other political forces?
Interview with YABLOKO leader Sergei
Mitrokhin by Maxim Glikin, Irina Novikova
Question: The so called tandem of
Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin lasted three years.
Do you think this model was
Sergei Mitrokhin: It was effective for the participants
in the tandem themselves. As a PR stunt, it was superb.
For Russia, however, it turned out to be a waste because
it availed Russia nothing at all. This show was a
success only for the showmen themselves. It accomplished
its purpose. Part of society was deceived and pinned
its hopes on Medvedev. Time was wasted, time that
could have been spent more productively, in search
for a genuine alternative to Putin that would have
Question: And did Yabloko have faith in Medvedev as
an alternative to Putin?
Sergei Mitrokhin: Never. We were constantly asked
who we liked more, Medvedev or Putin. We always replied
that we liked
neither because there was no difference between them...
MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) - A high
turnout in the upcoming parliamentary election in
Russia will cut the scale of possible falsifications,
Yabloko party top candidate Grigory Yavlinsky told
a Thursday press conference at the Interfax main office.
"The higher turnout is and the
more people take part in the ballot, the lesser falsifications
will be," he said.
Yabloko is practically the only alternative
to the incumbent authorities, Yavlinsky said. "Unfortunately,
no other democratic parties or groups are registered
- we have always said that the denial of their registration
is a violation of civil rights - and there are no
other representatives expressing European modern democratic
political views on the voting papers. There is no
one else but Yabloko," he said...
...Yabloko has been active in Russian
politics for almost 20 years. Fully aware of our responsibility
to Russian citizens, who aspire to liberty and justice,
our party has managed to survive and retain its potential
against continuous and severe administrative pressure.
Our work has been not only difficult, it has been
dangerous, and in some cases fatal. Larisa Yudina,
leader of the Yabloko branch in Kalmykia and a journalist,
was killed; so were Farid Babayev, leader of Yabloko
in Dagestan, and Yuri Shchekochikhin, a Duma deputy
and investigative journalist who was investigating
corruption in the secret services.
It is true that elections in Russia
today are not free and fair. But this is due not only
to the fact that Kasyanov’s party was denied registration
and thus cannot take part in the elections. Russian
elections ceased being free and fair after the presidential
elections in 1996. Unfortunately, back then European
liberals did not protest as loudly as they are doing
now. (In fact, the electoral system was similarly
defective in 2003 when Kasyanov was prime minister
under President Vladimir Putin).
Today, however, this is how Russian
elections are held and there are no other means for
a peaceful, nonviolent change in political course
and change of government. Liberals at Yabloko proceed
from the premise that an outright rejection of all
opportunities for peaceful change and the adoption
of actions based on the principle that “it has to
get worse before it gets better” is irresponsible
and leads to a dead-end...
Basic guidelines for 2011-
2016. Approved by the 16th Congress of the party on
September 10, 2011
OUR GOAL. The main goal of the YABLOKO
party is to build via peaceful and constitutional
methods a modern law-based democratic and socially
oriented state serving the needs of the people and
ensuring Russia’s dynamic development...
WHY ARE WE RUNNING FOR PARLIAMENT?
YABLOKO is participating in the elections to the State
Duma in order to represent the interests of Russia’s
citizens, adopt laws that will bring the country closer
to a law-based democratic and socially oriented state
and abolish all legislation that obstructs such a
The official registration period is
over in 19 of the 27 regions where elections to the
parliaments of components of the Russian Federation
will be held at the same time as the State Duma election
on 4 December. Yabloko has had more difficulty collecting
signatures than the other non-parliamentary parties,
and it was not allowed to run in the elections in
six of the federation components where its ticket
was certified. The campaign in Mordvinia, where only
three parties are registered, is the most controversial
one. Parties are filing suit and complaining to the
Central Electoral Commission in Chuvashia and Novgorod
In most of the regions where local
parliamentary elections will be held at the same time
as the Duma election, the registration of candidates
has been completed (in 14 regions last Friday). At
this stage of the campaign, the locations where non-parliamentary
parties will be able to run in the elections are already
Yabloko was denied registration in
six regions -- Ingushetia, Maritime Territory, Stavropol
Territory, Amur Oblast, Moscow Oblast, and Altay Territory.
Its lists of candidates were registered in four regions
-- Perm Territory, Samara and Astrakhan oblasts, and
St. Petersburg. The registration deadline has not
arrived yet in five of the regions where the Yabloko
ticket was certified -- Karelia and Leningrad, Pskov,
and Omsk oblasts...
...But the government needs to punish
the attackers to prove it is serious, said Beketov's
supporters, including Yabloko party leader Sergei
Mitrokhin and Yevgenia Chirikova, who heads the campaign
in defense of the forest.
"If they can give Misha back
his leg and the third of his brain that got smashed
away, I'm all in favor," an indignant Chirikova
said Tuesday, according to Gazeta.ru.
"But if this is just a way of
saying, 'Oh, what a nice Misha!' by the people who
have created the system that crippled him, then this
is cynicism, pure and simple," she said.
Mitrokhin said by phone that he was
sad the authorities didn't think about Beketov until
it was too late.
"The government didn't care about
him when he was lying there dying in a Khimki hospital,"
said Mitrokhin, who helped to transfer Beketov to
a better medical facility after the attack...
The thesis in liberal political circles
that there is insufficient democracy in Russia is
something that is obvious in itself. But the main
problem, on the contrary, is the absence of aristocratism
and elitism, the blending of genres, persons, and
Everything is subordinated to a kind
of uniform standard based on the power of money. On
this altar scientific conscientiousness, the talents
of journalists, and political reputations are sacrificed.
And when some kind of moneybags ascends on the political
horizon, a significant part of the political community
begins to shake its little wings in excitement, in
the hope that the golden dust will settle on them.
In point of fact, it was in this that
the main content of the "Prokhorov phenomenon"
and other similar appearances of big money in Russian
politics lay. This is why the general picture is painted
in a single colour with different hues -instead of
freely flourishing complexity, we have the emulation
of plebeianism in the very worst sense of this word...
...Petlin, now 38 and the only Yabloko
member in the 28-seat city Duma, kept battling the
shopping center. On Aug, 26, his freedom was revoked
and he was taken to pretrial Detention Center No.
1, which is so overcrowded, Bashkov said, that each
cell holds twice its capacity. People sleep on the
floor, or take turns on the beds. Tuberculosis and
hepatitis are rampant. "We are talking about
innocent people who haven't been tried," he said.
A few days ago, with prosecutors still
unprepared to try him, Petlin's detention was extended
until Dec. 22.
"I think he had an idea about
the scale of the corruption," said Petlin's wife,
Tatyana, "but none of us could even imagine this"...
The fact that the security services
work at the proposed meeting site of [of the President
with the students] does not cause problems. The question
is, what they do: whether they ensure safety or a
nice television picture. Protesting students presented
no danger to the head of state, and, judging by the
information in the media, what was written on their
placards was in line with the law.
These students may be a problem and
a headache only for the ruling United Russia election
headquarters (their electoral list is topped by the
President), rather than for security services. And
certainly, this "problem" should not be
solved by means of detentions and preventive conversations
in the police. I think that any distraction of the
Federal Security Service from its main function is
bad. It is harmful to the state.
The Power Vertical: When you announced
your return to politics you said you said that this
was one of those moments when change was truly possible.
That was before United Russia held its congress on
September 24 and Vladimir Putin announced his intention
to return to the presidency. Do you still see a opportunity
Grigory Yavlinsky: I see an even greater
opportunity. People now see that if there isn't a
change things will be just like they are now for another
25 years. People want the situation to change. I think
Putin's return and Putin's [United Russia] congress
showed people the necessity of change even more than
before. The reaction in society and in the elite shows
this. For example, after the congress the number of
people who want to work with me and with Yabloko rose
sharply. Even those who were more moderate or indifferent
are now in a different mood. They have been under
pressure from these conditions for such a long time.
What does [Putin's return] mean? It means the preservation
of the previous style and the previous agenda. It
means the same faces on television. It means everything
will remain the same. People can't take this anymore...
...The panel examined the absence
of rule of law in Russia. The keynote speaker Grigory
Yavlinsky distinguished this absence by the lack of
independent justice, the influence of the political
elite and of money. He identified three root causes
of the problem: the 1917 state coup in which “a criminal
group of people were taking power in Russia,” the
privatization process of the 1990s, and the support
of the international community for the political and
economic reforms of the 1990s. Mr. Yavlinsky also
stated that “Russia’s corruption is a joint venture
with the West.”
William Browder then spoke on the possibility of international
action putting pressure on the Russian political elite
to interrupt this joint venture. While Grigory Yavlinsky
later reiterated the importance of initiating change
from within Russia, stating that Russian “politicians
all know, personally, that it is [their] task to change
the system.” Vadim Klyuvgant followed with an analysis
of the Russian “dictate of law.” He insisted on individual
human rights as a foundation for rule of law.
Bobo Lo continued the discussion with a distinction
between the notions of “rule of law” and “rule by
law” which prevails in Russia. He defined this concept
as the “use and abuse, particularly, of laws and administrative
regulations to support power rather than justice.”
The panel recognized the validity of Yavlinsky’s view
that “there is no rule of law in Russia and we must
After two years delay, tomorrow the
EU will finally launch the Visa Information System
(VIS); a database which will improve the processing
of visa applications and biometric data for visits
from non-EU nationals to the EU’s Schengen zone.
Sarah Ludford (LibDem, UK),
ALDE spokesperson on EU visa policy and author of
Parliament's report on the VIS system, said: "VIS
is now finally live but the two year delay is dismaying.
The need for an efficient border control system to
combat illegal immigration while keeping the EU open
to genuine travellers justified a greater urgency"...
An exciting picture of a bight future
painted with wide strokes – the idea of a Common
Economic Space (CES) and the Eurasian Union (see Vladimir
Putin’s article in Izvestia,
English text) – is virtually pained over
the problems that can become crucial for Russia already
in the short perspective.
What are the proposed guidelines for
such integration with Russia’s participation?
Obviously, Vladimir Putin intends to focus on the
Asian vector, rather than the European. However, there
are no grounds (at least for Russia) to count that
[Russia’s] “joining the Eurasian Union
... will allow every member state to integrate into
Europe quicker and from stronger positions”...
Following two weeks of intense negotiations
after the Parliamentary elections on 15 September
2011, a new government was announced on Monday in
Denmark, to be led by Social Democrat Party Leader
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who thereby becomes the country’s
first ever female Prime Minister. Also the overall
government held a good gender balance. Out of a total
of 23 Ministers, 9 are female and 14 male. The
new Danish coalition government features three parties,
including ELDR Member Det Radikale Venstre (Radikale),
who goes into the coalition as the second force and
will receive six Ministerial portfolios, the heaviest
obviously being Party Leader Magrethe Vestager's beefed
up, combined portfolio of Minister for Economy and
Home Affairs, which will give Radikale a first-hand
opportunity to steer the Danish migration policy into
a new direction, following years of influence from
the nationalist, anti-immigrant Danish People's Party
on this area.
In addition to Vestager's portfolio,
Radikale gains the following Ministers:
- Minister for Climate and Energy:
Mr. Martin Lidegaard;
- Minister for Culture: Mr. Uffe Elbæk;
- Minister for Development: Mr. Christian
- Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs,
Equality and Nordic Cooperation: Mr. Manu Sareen;
- Minister for Research and Innovation:
Mr. Morten Østergaard;
The ELDR Party would like to take
this occasion to wish Det Radikale Venstre all the
best for its upcoming challenges in Danish politics
and the new government!
Following last week's State of the
Union debate in Strasbourg, the ALDE group will follow
up on commitments made by President Barroso to strengthen
economic governance in the Union and propose concrete
measures to deepen economic and fiscal integration.
Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Liberal
and Democrat group in the European Parliament had
praised Barroso for his passionate defence of the
Union and the central role for the European Commission
in economic governance, but underlined the importance
of the same message being repeated to EU leaders at
their next summit in Brussels on 17-18th October...
for European Liberals in this decade.By
Sir Graham Watson, MEP. September 2011
“I hope still to contribute to
the task of building Liberal strength across the continent
of Europe and beyond. I believe there is much to play
The European People’s Party is an inherently
unstable coalition, the European Socialists a party
in terminal decline. The opportunity for a stronger
centre is immense.”
With these words I concluded my book
‘Building a Liberal Europe - the ALDE Project’
published late last year. The book tells the story
of the Liberal contribution to the building of the
EU from the first direct elections to the European
Parliament in 1979 to the elections of June 2009.
But the story of liberalism did not end there.
Since then the Lisbon Treaty has entered
into force, giving the EU institutions new competences;
substantial moves have been made towards common economic
government for the countries sharing a common currency,
in conjunction with moves to control the greed of
the financial community; the EU has been challenged
to turn its fine words into action in the fight against
climate change; and the foundations have been laid
for a common foreign and security policy. Liberal
thought has contributed to these. But where do we
go from here? How can we contribute to the EU's 'work
Sergei Mitrokhin’s blog
at the Echo Moskvi web-site, October 2, 2011
A game depicting an alleged conflict
between Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev went on
for a long time and was very exciting. A huge number
of people were persuaded that the President was an
alternative to the Prime Minister. Political scientists
also tried to look clever saying very “smart”
things. There even emerged such organisations like
the Institute of Contemporarily Development, INSOR,
[by Igor Yurgens] that built their modernisation concepts
on such "differences" [between Vladimir
Putin and Dmitry Medvedev]...
I'm not going to campaign for the
YABLOKO party here, which also has never been a Kremlin’s
project and has been in opposition to Vladimir Putin
since 1999. I just would like to say that in case
of mass-scale voting for us, the government would
receive a very clear signal that the society does
not need any "strong hand", but needs simply
a DEMOCRATIC LAW-GOVERNED state.
The "strong hand” is not
an alternative to Vladimir Putin, but a European-style
democracy is such an alternative.
“Putin-Medvedev Presidency Tandem Chooses Stagnation”
LI News Bulletin, Issue 252, September 29, 2011
Sergei Mitrokhin, the leader of Yabloko
(LI full member) commented on the news that President
Medvedev is going to head the United Russia party
at the parliamentary election in December 2011 while
Prime Minister Putin will run at the presidential
elections in 2012 as ”nothing unexpected.”
Describing the recent statement of Putin and Medvedev
as simply a “rotation in the tandem”,
Mitrokhin characterised the proposal as “a way
towards a new stagnation rather than modernisation,
and this stagnation may lead the country to the same
deplorable outcome like the stagnation of Leonid Brezhnev's
era.” Mitrokhin's concerns were echoed by Yabloko's
top parliamentary candidate Grigory Yavlinsky, who
warned that the announcement should be viewed as the
emergence of a “new political reality”
and that the system “created during Putin's
presidency implies that it should be maintained for
another 12 years, and perhaps 24 years, that is, until
2036.” Emphasising that a return to valid elections
at all levels is the only solution, the Yabloko leaders
called on citizens to voice their disapproval at the
parliamentary elections in December...
elects Annie Lööf MP as new Party Leader ELDR Press Release, September 23, 2011.On
22-25 September, ELDR’s Swedish member party
Centerpartiet is convening for what has been described
as their most important Party Congress in a decade
in the scenic skiing resort of Åre, Sweden.
A large part of the drama has obviously
been triggered by the fact that current Party Leader
and Minister for Enterprise Maud Olofsson has announced
her stepping down, why the party elects a new Party
Leader, but also takes the opportunity to have a comprehensive
debate on the party platform and elect new Deputy
Party Leaders, a first in the long and proud history
In today's State of the Union debate
in Strasbourg, Guy Verhofstadt welcomed President
Barroso's passionate defence of the European Union
and the central role of the Commission in proposing
common solutions to the current crisis.
"We stand in the eye of a financial
storm. Banks have lost trust in each other, stock
markets are at a 4-year low, growth prospects are
anemic and the spreads on government bonds in the
eurozone are increasing by the day. Only courage,
solidarity and leadership will provide a route out
of the current crisis"...
Grigory Yavlinsky's blog.
Video. September 27, 2011
...Because if this system does not
change, then it will impossible to amend or rebuild
it a few years. And we can influence the developments
only within a very short period - in 2.5 months through
elections to the State Duma. Whatever they are! And
at presidential elections that come in six months...
We should show that there is an alternative for the
country at these elections. And yet – I am stressing
the word “yet” here - we can do it! And
YABLOKO offers such an alternative...
According to YABLOKO’s leader
Sergei Mitrokhin, new appointments in the financial
and economic bloc of the Russian government are unlikely
to lead to changes in Russia’s financial policy.
“I think that any abrupt changes
in view of appointment of Anton Siluanov acting Finance
Minister and Igor Shuvalov supervisor of the financial-economic
bloc in the government are unlikely. Most probably
everything will remain as it is,” Sergei Mitrokhin
told to Interfax.
He also noted that replacement of
the Finance Minister is unlikely to lead to economic
...Yabloko’s programme will
focus on three issues. "Fight against corruption,
introduction of an article into the Criminal Code
envisaging punishment for unlawful enrichment, and
firing of all state functionaries unable or unwilling
to explain their personal fortunes,” Yabloko’s
leader Sergei Mitrokhin said. “Also [we are]
for return to elections at all levels, public control
over secret services, and transition to professional
According to Mitrokhin, at present
Yabloko is about to publish a large number of copies
of its electoral programme, that will be delivered
to the voters by party activists. And before that
Yabloko had organised a number of actions and pickets,
and Kirill Gontcharov, leader of Youth Yabloko, had
even served several days of imprisonment in the Gelendzhik
prison for the action by the centre of the Russian
Orthodox Church [in Gelendzhik], also called “Patriarch’s
Mitrokhin said that all the political
parties were Yabloko's political rivals adding that
Yabloko would criticize United Russia and its leader
Vladimir Putin. Yabloko’s leader was the first
and the only politician who dared to criticize Vladimir
Putin: “We have absolutely definite claims on
Prime Minister’s performance: namely, creation
of a resource-based economy, huge corruption and virtual
liquidation of political competition”...
Les jeunes en Russie Russie Les 18-30
ans constituent en Russie la première génération
qui a grandi dans l’après-communisme.
Cette nouvelle jeunesse apporte-t-elle un vent de
changement ? Rien n’est moins sûr. Rencontres.
Vingt ans après la chute du régime soviétique,
le parti d’opposition Iabloko (« pomme
» en russe) dresse dans un rapport un bilan
alarmiste du sort de la jeunesse russe : passivité
civique, carriérisme égoïste, conformisme,
refus de chercher la vérité, niveau
d’éducation en baisse, orgueil national,
impréparation totale aux défis du XXIe
siècle... La situation sanitaire est tout aussi
préoccupante : contamination galopante au VIH
– un million de personnes touchées –,
explosion du nombre de toxicomanes mineurs en dix
ans, alcoolisme qui tue chaque année 40 000
La jeunesse moderne est la première
génération née dans la nouvelle
On Thursday September 22nd, ALDE MEPs
Niccolo Rinaldi (IdV, Italy) and Antonyia Parvanova
(NMSP, Bulgaria) organised a seminar in the European
Parliament to evaluate the use of ICT (Information
and Communication Technology) for improving the quality
of life and healthy ageing of the population...
Liberal voice in government loud and clear
LI News Bulletin, Issue 251, September 23, 2011
Addressing the Autumn Party Conference
in Birmingham this week, the leader of the Liberal
Democrats (LI full member) Nick Clegg underlined the
party's achievements in government, saying that an
impressive three quarters of the LibDem manifesto
“is being delivered in government”. ‘In difficult
times you need to know two things about your government:
that it has the strength to take the decisions needed
to fix the big problems; and that there are people
in that government who are looking out for you...
Our liberal voice is loud and clear', stated Clegg.
LibDem Party President Tim Farron, said: ‘We are a
radical Liberal Party putting radical liberal politics
into action and blocking Tory policies every day...'
The Central Electoral Commission of
the Russian Federation attested YABLOKO’s list
of candidates for elections to the State Duma of the
YABLOKO’s federal list is topped
by Dr.Grigory Yavlinsky, party founder and member
of YABLOKO’s Political Committee, Sergei Mitorkhin,
party Chairman and Alexei Yablokov, head of YABLOKO’s
Green Russia faction.
“We are setting a tough goal
– creation of a faction in the State Duma. This
implies overcoming a seven per cent barrier, but we
should do this with a higher margin. A benchmark for
us is ten per cent,” Mitrokhin told journalists
The stakes were high when yesterday’s
Danish Parliamentary elections got underway. Following
intense and good campaigning by all parties, spearheaded
by leading government party and ELDR Member Party
Venstre, polls close to election day showed the two
blocs on almost equal figures. The stage was therefore
set for a real nail-biter on election night. As the
vote count got underway, it quickly became clear that
this would be a good night for Danish liberals.
Not only did Venstre stand their ground
very well, clearly maintaining their position as Denmark’s
largest party, ELDR’s other Danish member party
Det Radikale Venstre were also speeding off the blocks
to substantially increase their 5,1 % share of the
electorate in the last elections in 2007...
Abstention from elections not an option
LI News Bulletin, Issue 250, September 15, 2011
During its 16th Party Congress in Moscow,
LI full member Yabloko, prominent party figures expressed
their concerns regarding public calls for abstention
in the parliamentary elections scheduled for December
4th. Saying that the voters need to express their
opinions through voting, party founder Dr. Grigory
Yavlinsky said '…today Yabloko is the only registered
independent political party that will always stand
in defense of liberty, equality before law and the
inviolability of private property ... We are convinced
that these values are consciously shared by the majority
of our fellow citizens and it would be a betrayal
on our part if we deprive them of chance to make their
choice,” he said, adding: “Systematic
discrediting of elections is as dangerous as election
fraud. Because if you do not vote, then why should
you fight fraud?' Yavlinsky's views were confirmed
by party leader Sergei Mitrokhin, who added that “Yabloko
is a responsible political force,that is why it will
participate in the coming elections to the Russian
Ahead of parliamentary elections in
Russia, ELDR member party, YABLOKO held its 16th congress
on 10-11 September. The upcoming elections set the
tone for the congress with democratic development
and economic policy identified as two main pillars
for the campaign. “YABLOKO is a responsible
political force, which is why it will participate
in the coming elections to the Russian parliament.
Only YABLOKO due to the specifics of its ideology
and programme can challenge the monopoly of corrupted
bureaucracy merged with business,” commented
Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of YABLOKO...
Yabloko party co-founder Grigory Yavlinsky
will come out of political retirement to head the
party's list in the State Duma elections, the party
announced Sunday at a Moscow congress. Yavlinsky,
59, handed over the reins of Yabloko, which he co-founded
in 1993, to Sergei Mitrokhin in 2008 but kept a seat
on the party's political committee. Now the duo will
occupy the top two spots on the party's federal list
in the December vote, Interfax reported.
The third spot will go to Alexei Yablokov, a noted
environmentalist and corresponding member of the Russian
Academy of Sciences. Also running on the party ticket
will be Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov;
Anatoly Leirikh, a senior member of Delovaya Rossia,
a business lobby group; and Andrei Rudomakha of Environment
Watch North Caucasus, a nonprofit group known for
reporting about a Black Sea mansion of unclear ownership
dubbed "Putin's Palace"...
growth tops Eurozone
LI News Bulletin, Issue 249, September 8, 2011
Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip
(Reform Party, LI full member) announced this week
that his country's GDP growth forecast is set to drastically
improve this year, nearly doubling from 4% to 7%.
Estonia, which adopted the Euro as recently as January
this year, has with its economic growth in the first
two quarters of the year outpaced all other 16 Eurozone
countries, making itself the star performer of the
fiscal union. Since the economic downturn in 2008,
Estonia has showed remarkable public sector austerity
— including a 20 % pay cut by the Prime Minister
himself. Earlier this summer Estonia's credit rating
was improved to double-A minus, a rare achievement
in the current economic crisis. Noting the importance
of trade in maintaining a high growth rate, Ansip
said: 'Our growth rate is based on exports and our
main export markets are Sweden and Finland. They are
doing really well but you never know.' Prime Minister
Andrus Ansip also emphasized that the improved growth
outlook would be mirrored by slower growth rates next
At the start of the new parliamentary
year after a summer of crisis, Liberals and Democrats
in the European Parliament are calling on the European
Commission to seize the initiative from the Member
States to resolve the persistent financial crisis
that is fast deteriorating and infecting the real
ALDE group leader Guy VERHOFSTADT
"I appeal now for a bold and
brave approach, particularly from the European Commission
which has the right of initiative, to seize the initiative
back from Member States and get on top of the crisis
once and for all. We are returning from a summer of
indecision and mixed messages that have only served
to exacerbate the problems of the eurozone. Time is
now running out. Member States can no longer escape
the hard truths of their inaction and policy weakness
in the euro area...
Leader of LI Full member Yabloko,
Sergei Mitrokhin has during a rare meeting with Russian
President Dmitri Medvedev called for a thorough modernisation
of the Russian parliament. During the meeting for
all registered parties, Mitrokhin stated that the
“forthcoming elections represent an opportunity
to implement Russian modernisation plans”, voiced
by the President earlier. “Political modernisation
first of all means provision of equal possibilities
for political competition. And this should take place
during elections,” Mitrokhin stressed. “Today
the State Duma with dominance of one political party
is the most powerful anti-modernisation factor…
As it is this party which controls the parliament,
it cannot protect the society from bureaucrats' arbitrary
rule and corruption. Therefore a corrupted system
based on the laws adopted by bureaucracy and for the
sake of bureaucracy has been built in the country,
via the State Duma”, he added...
The European Parliament's Economic
and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) met in extraordinary
session today to take stock of the deteriorating situation
in the Eurozone in the presence of ECB President Jean-Claude
Trichet, Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker ,
EU commissioner Olli Rehn and the Polish Minister
of Finance (Council Presidency) Jacek Rostowski...
The 20th anniversary of the coup attempt
gives one more reason to think why 20 years after
the ruin of the Communist regime Russian democracy
also failed without even being born”, said Sergei
Mitrokhin, Leader of Yabloko (LI full member) on August
19th, the day commemorating the failed coup d'etat
of 1991 that sparked the fall of the Soviet Union.
“The team of Boris Yeltsin failed to build democracy
in Russia and 20 years after the abortive coup the
country has turned into an oligarchy with elements
of autocracy”, he added...
...Expectations about Poltavchenko,
whose involvement in public politics remains limited,
were still unclear Monday, but the leader of the city
branch of the liberal Yabloko party, Maxim Reznik,
welcomed him simply for not being a member of Matviyenko's
"It's a positive move,"
Reznik said, Interfax reported. But he criticized
the fact that residents of St. Petersburg, the country's
second-biggest city with a population of 4.8 million,
will be given no say in who will govern them.
Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Leader has hailed
the "dawn of democracy in Libya" following
the dramatic events in Tripoli.
"Back in March the ALDE Group
took the initiative to invite Dr Al-Issawi and Dr
Mahmoud Gebil, two senior members of the National
Interim Council of Libya to come to Strasbourg to
hear directly from the Libyan rebels what support
was needed in their struggle. This was the first time
that Libyan Rebels received international attention
and given a platform to outline their needs in the
fight for freedom. At that moment, they were unequivocal
in their request, recognition of the National Interim
Council, guarantee the supply of humanitarian assistance
and enforce a no-fly zone...
Moscow, August 19 (Interfax) - The
team of Boris Yeltsin failed to build democracy in
Russia and 20 years after the abortive coup the country
has turned into an oligarchy with elements of autocracy,
Yabloko party leader Sergei Mitrokhin believes.
"Unfortunately, those who assumed
full power as a result - Boris Yeltsin and his entourage
- did not live up to the hopes that the defenders
of the White House had pinned to them. Instead of
building a civilized democracy in Russia, they surrendered
power to adventurers and national wealth - to criminals,"
Mitrokhin's statement received by Interfax on Friday
...Yabloko Democratic Party said it
does not recognize the elections, which were not properly
announced and thus illegal in a statement on Monday,
which described them as a “shameful and undignified
It said that Matviyenko has a “panicked
fear” of any democratic procedures and the scheme’s
goal was to save her from any political competition
at the election...
must now have our support, says LibDem Deputy Leader
LI News Bulletin, Issue 245, August 11, 2011
As riots continue to spread across
the United Kingdom, President of the Liberal International
British Group (LIBG) and Deputy Leader of the Liberal
Democrats, the Rt. Hon. Simon Hughes MP, has spoken
out against the violence occurring in the capital.
“Things are now becoming very serious in many
areas of London …Police must now have our support
and they must be free to take the action they feel
necessary to restore peace in our communities…
“And there is just one simple message for young
people. Don't give in to the temptation to trash your
own communities — these are the places which
we all need for our future jobs, housing and prosperity.”
Lynn Featherstone MP also characterized the violence
as “…the wanton destruction of the fabric
of our communities and the violence against the police
[making] for scenes of absolute horror — the
like of which we have not seen on the streets of London.”
While the violence has calmed down in London, it has
now spread to the north and west of the country...
A joint action by the Federation of
Russian Automobile Owners and YABLOKO [against use
of flashing lights at bureaucrats’ cars creating
terrible traffic jams in Moscow] began as usual at
8 a.m. [this August]. First everything was calm, as
according to the law one-person pickets do not require
any permissions from the authorities...
...Yabloko Democratic Party said it
does not recognize the elections, which were not properly
announced and thus illegal in a statement on Monday,
which described them as a “shameful and undignified
farce.” It said that Matviyenko has a “panicked
fear” of any democratic procedures and the scheme’s
goal was to save her from any political competition
at the election.
“It’s an utter shame and
disgrace,” said Yabloko’s local chair
Maxim Reznik by phone on Monday.“And this is
a person who once was the governor! She simply humiliates
Whilst welcoming the ECB's decision
on Sunday evening to actively implement its bond buying
program, including for Spain and Italy, Guy Verhofstadt,
ALDE Leader said:
"In view of the severity of the
crisis, further exacerbated by the downgrading of
the US ranking, European leaders have got to stop
making quick fix-it solutions to the very serious
debt crisis. Rather than prepare the next plan for
Spain or Italy, they must tackle the root cause of
call for urgent actions on Syria
LI News Bulletin, Issue 244, August 4, 2011
This past week, liberal leaders have
reacted strongly as violence escalates against anti-government
demonstrators in Syria. LI Vice President in the Bureau,
Abir Al-Sahlani, MP reacted: 'First and foremost,
the violence must be stopped. The UN must step in
and do more. We can't just watch how tanks are being
sent against civilians. We have a responsibility to
protect civillians'. Following the regime's deadliest
assault so far on demonstrators last Sunday , ALDE
leader Guy Verhofstadt called upon the EU to extend
sanctions to Syrian oil businesses. “We need
to hit as hard as possible on the regime's source
of finance.” Verhofstadt said, remarking that
90 percent of Syrian oil exports are exported to the
EU. German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle (FDP,
LI Full member), welcomed on Thursday the UN Security
Council's condemnation of Syrian regime's human rights
violations and demanded that a special UN envoy on
Syria to be immediately named and dispatched to the
country 'to bring the clear message of the international
community to Damascus.'
"Since the beginning of the peaceful
demonstrations against the regime in Syria, over 1.600
civilians have been killed, 12 thousand arrested,
3 thousand have disappeared and around 13 thousand
found shelter in Lebanon and Turkish camps...
LI President Hans van Baalen MEP has
conveyed his condolences to the Norwegian Government
and Parliament and to the LI Member Party Venstre
of Norway following the loss of more than 90 lives
in the terrorist attacks last Friday. “The condolences
of Liberal International go to Norwegian society,
the family and relatives of the victims and to those
wounded in, as it seems, a ruthless terrorist attack
on the government buildings in central Oslo and on
the resort of the Norske Arbeiderpartiet (Norwegian
Labour Party) at Utøya.”. The party offices
of Norwegian LI member party, Venstre, suffered extensive
material damage during the attack. Expressing her
condolences to all of those affected, Venstre leader
Trine Skei Grande said: “These are days for
comfort, thoughtfulness and reflection. Take care
of each other. We must remember to maintain our democracy
and an open society.” In order to honour the
national grieving, the Norwegian party leaders have
decided to postpone campaigning in the upcoming local
elections in September until further notice.
...In conducting a campaign in the
Black Sea coastal region to return public land, including
beaches and forest areas, to the people and to stop
the construction of oil shipment terminals, ELDR member
party YABLOKO, has been targeted by an unknown source
which is calling for the party to be put on a list
of terrorist organisations and for its activities
to be prohibited.
here to read YABLOKO's press release on this matter.
This follows the arrest last month
of YABLOKO activists campaigning for better environmental
awareness and consideration at the Black Sea coast.
The notion of wanting to label a political
party as being a terrorist organisation on the basis
of conducting a peaceful campaign that represents
the views of a number of citizens living in the area
concerned is very worrying and a clear infringement
of human rights and on the actions of YABLOKO as a
political party. ELDR deplores such attempts to limit
the freedom of expression of the Russian people and
the underhand tactics used against YABLOKO to halt
Leader of the YABLOKO party Sergei
Mitrokhin arrived to Novosibirsk on July 20 so that
to intensify the work of the regional office on the
eve of the State Duma elections. According to Mitrokhin,
Oleg Donskikh can head the party branch in Novosibirsk.
Donskikh is at present the authorized representative
of the party in the region, reports Taiga-Info correspondent
on July 20...
“The flagrant violence that
is employed by the Belarusian law-enforcement agencies
against peaceful protests is absolutely unacceptable,”
said in a prompt reaction to the latest news from
Belarus the German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle
(FDP, LI Full Member). He expressed great concern
over the recent violent crackdown on anti-government
protesters demanding “the immediate release
of all political prisoners and an end to political
violence”. Westerwelle's statement follows a
statement of LI, ELDR, ALDE-EP and ALDE-PACE,
issued shortly after the Presidential elections in
Belarus in connection to the violent repression of
“In a democratic society, all
policies are subject to parliamentary scrutiny and
evaluation. The regular standards of transparency
and accountability should apply to counter terrorism
like any other policy area. But so far remarkably
little has been done to evaluate our counter terrorism
efforts and their results. An in-depth evaluation
is long overdue and will undoubtedly lead to more
efficient and effective policies”...
...Last week, a handful of environmentalists
and political opposition party members made their
way to the site of Putin’s alleged fairytale
home to check out the mysterious place and assess
its environmental impact.
In January, the FRANCE 24 Observer’s website
published an article on the controversy triggered
by photos published on the internet of Putin’s
seaside palace near the southern town Paraskoveevka,
on the Black Sea. The site also published comments
made by Sergei Kolesnikov, a Russian businessman who
had been involved in the building’s construction,
and who maintained that the prime minister was its
true owner. Although officially classified as a centre
to be used for medical care, Kolesnikov was able to
use a paper trail detailing the building’s financing
to link it to Putin...
Following the June session of the
Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE),
at which ALDE-PACE debated the rule of law in Russia,
the liberal colleagues from ALDE in the European Parliament
(ALDE-EP, LI full member) invited Mikhail Kasyanov
and Boris Nemstov, Leaders of the People's Freedom
Party (PARNAS) for discussions in Strasbourg. The
Russian leaders warned that the current policy is
paving the way for a Russian Spring similar to the
uprisings spreading through Arab countries, 'Russian
people do not seek another revolution but freedom
ultimately cannot be denied'. An earlier liberal conference
on the rule of law in Russia in Moscow on 22 June
produced a statement
condemning the refusal of the Russian authorities
to register several political parties, like PARNAS.
Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of LI full member YABLOKO,
has also released a statement
on the topic. Kristiina Ojuland MEP (Estonian Reform
Party, LI full member) reacted: 'The EU needs to send
an unequivocal message to Russia that the illegal
banning of legitimate parties from elections will
not be tolerated'.
...Our guys were
put into a jail cell in the police station 3 by 3
meters large, where about 20 people had already been
crammed along with them. People were standing, squatting
or lying close to each other on the dirty cement floor.
One of them - a homeless person – obviously had tuberculosis.
In this cell the guys were kept before sending them
to court: Goncharov for nine hours and Menzheritsky
for 14 hours...
...The convicts were housed in a temporary
detention facility, located in the same police building
in Gelenzhik. Menzheritsky was kept cell No 13. The
cell was about 16 square meters. m, and was designed
for seven, but the police kept 18 people there. The
cops did not try to hide the fact that the temporary
detention prison had several vacant cells. They tormented
18 people on purpose, so that, according to the police
officers, "they would try to avoid getting there
in the future”. People had to
queue so that to sleep in turn on a board couch (as
there were no separate beds and linen)...
"Parliament has backed today
what ALDE has been repeating for months. We do not
want and will not accept any new mechanism that may
weaken the Schengen acquis guaranteeing the principle
of free movement between Member States - the very
essence of our Union." said Renate Weber (PNL,
Romania) ALDE coordinator in the Civil Liberties Committee
after today's vote on a resolution on the "Changes
to Schengen" as called for by the June European
..."The facts listed confirm
the need to organize independent and competent medical
services for inmates of penitentiary facilities. Such
services cannot be exclusively controlled by the Federal
Penitentiary Service and must also be subordinated
to the Health Ministry," it says.
"It is necessary to create a
mechanism of independent medical examinations of the
inmates' condition on the basis of proposals provided
by the Office of the Moscow Human Rights Commissioner,
jointly with the City Public Supervisory Commission,"
the report says...
Eight prison guards severely beat
lawyer Sergei Magnitsky shortly before his 2009 death
in pretrial detention, an activist said Tuesday, providing
a new twist to allegations that Magnitsky had been
tortured in prison.
An account of the beating is included in a 40-page
report on Magnitsky's death that the Kremlin's human
rights council presented to President Dmitry Medvedev
on Tuesday, said Valery Borshchyov, who headed an
independent investigation into the death that formed
the basis for the report.
The report also lays blame on prison
hospital staff and the investigators who jailed Magnitsky
for his death.
"Having interviewed the prison
doctors and staff, we came to the conclusion that
Magnitsky, who was already in bad condition, was beaten
in a separate cell," Borshchyov said by telephone...
sets out proposals to avoid further economic crises
Press Release, ALDE, July 6, 2011
"The EU is at a critical juncture:
it must decide either to increase its rate of integration
or regress to an economic zone", said CRIS chairman
Wolf KLINZ (FDP, Germany), after the European Parliament
adopted today by a large majority the final report
of its 'Special Committee on the Financial, Economic
and Social Crisis' - established in 2009 in response
to the crisis that had followed the collapse of Lehman
...How will the people of St Petersburg
remember Valentina Matvienko’s eight-year tenure
as governor? She is undoubtedly clever, resolute,
has a way of winning people over and at a pinch can
make a good impression even on her opponents. But
being an authoritarian politician, she hates being
criticized and sees the opposition not as people whose
point of view needs to be taken into account, but
as an enemy that should be destroyed if it doesn’t
surrender. It is no wonder that protests in St Petersburg
are broken up, opposition members are made ineligible
to run for public office and the results of elections
are often rigged...
"I warmly welcome the acquittal
of Oleg Orlov. It is a step in the direction of ensuring
respect for the rule of law and a sign that Russian
courts are willing and able to interpret the right
to freedom of expression in accordance with the European
Convention on Human Rights. However, we should not
forget that the circumstances of the killing of Natalia
Estemirova have not yet been elucidated, and that
human rights defenders in Chechnya continue to be
threatened and hindered in exercising their activities."
- Mailis Reps (Estonia, ALDE), the rapporteur of the
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on
the situation of human rights defenders.
Kirill Gontcharov, leader of the Moscow
Youth YABLOKO (LI full member), and environmentalist
Sergei Menzhitsky were sentenced to five days of imprisonment
for alleged “physical resistance to police orders”.
They were detained in Divnomorskoye village at the
Black Sea, while protesting against unlawful and illegal
construction of cottages in national parks, which
involved turning public beaches and territories into
top officials' private property. The YABLOKO action,
titled “All-Russia Protest Against the Stolen
Black Sea Coast”, was launched on 24 June...
ALDE will strongly condemn any attempt
to create any additional mechanism and possibilities
of making it easier for Member States to re-introduce
border checks. This is one of the messages of the
ALDE group to today's European Council summit due
to decide over migration and the governance of the
Last Sunday (19 June) witnessed the
second round of the Moldovan local elections. The
first round of the local elections, held on Sunday
5 June, were very fruitful for ELDR member Partidul
Liberal (PL), as reported by ELDR on 8 June –
and offered plenty of potential for the second round,
with the capital Chisinau still undecided and over
100 liberal candidates still in the running around
Mitrokhin’s blog at the Echo Moskvi web-site,
June 22, 2011
The issue of today’s radio programme
“People Are Against” has been whether
it is possible to knockdown corruption in Russia?
My answer is: yes, it is, and
the key condition here is the WILL OF THE TOP OFFICIAL
OF THE STATE. After which the following steps can
Sergei Mitrokhin expressed his indignation with the
decision of the Justice Ministry to deny registration
to People’s Freedom Party (PNS).
“I am expressing indignation
with the actions of the registrator. We do not share
many of the political views of PNS, but we believe
that this movement reflects the ideas of a particular
part of society and has already proved being a political
organisation,” he told Interfax on Wednesday.
According to Mitrokhin, “the
denial to register PNS means not only a denial of
rights to its members, but also to those who support
“I hope that in case PNS goes
to court, an objective decision will be taken and
the party will be registered and be able to participate
in the parliamentary elections,” Mitrokhin concluded...
The delegates assembled at the Congress
in Manila had the exciting task of voting for a new
Bureau in an election where 8 candidates were competing
for the 6 Vice President positions. The President
of Liberal International, Hans van Baalen MEP will
continue for a second term in his position, as will
incumbent Deputy President Juli Minoves. The Vice
Presidents on the new Bureau will be: Lamine Ba (PDS,
Senegal), Bi-Khim Hsiao (DPP, Taiwan), Wolfgang Gerhadt
MP (FDP, Germany and President of the Friedrich Naumann
Foundation), Abir Al-Sahlani (Centerpartiet, Sweden),
Josep Soler (LiD, Catalonia) and Dzhevdet Chakarov
MP. Former Vice President on the Bureau Robert Woodthorpe
Browne (Liberal Democrats, UK) and former co-opted
Bureau member Senator Art Eggleton (Liberal Party,
Canada) will function as Treasurers on the new Bureau...
On the eve of the next EU-Russia summit
to be held on 9-10 June in Nizhny Novgorod, ALDE has
reiterated its call for more pressure to be put on
Russia to uphold her international commitments and
obligations but considers that there is insufficient
progress on common issues to justify continuing with
two summits a year...
In key run-off local elections held
in Italy last weekend, ELDR member Italia dei Valori
and the coalition it is part of won over Prime Minister’s
Berlusconi’s conservative coalition.
In Naples, ELDR MEP Luigi de Magistris
won 65% of the vote in a landslide victory over Mr
Berlusconi's candidate, Gianni Lettieri. Other such
key cities include Milan, Mr Berlusconi and Lega Nord’s
power base, run by these parties for the last 18 years,
as well as Turin, Bologna, Trieste, Cagliari.
Ahead of the Polish Presidency, the
Commission proposed today modifications to the Asylum
Reception Conditions and Asylum Procedures Directives
(tabled respectively in 2008 and 2009) to overcome
the ongoing impasse and give new impetus to negotiations.
ALDE welcomes that the revised proposals maintain
the core purpose of the original directives and calls
on the Council to avoid wasting more time...
ELDR Party President Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck
addressed the delegates of the Democratic Alliance
Party in Greece at their founding Congress on 27 May
2011 in Athens, Greece. This party is led by Dora
Bakoyannis, a former foreign minister and mayor of
Athens who left the opposition New Democracy Party
last year over differences over the economic and budgetary
reforms necessary to deal with the current crisis...
Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE leader called
the European Commission's Southern Mediterranean Neighbourhood
policy "an important step" today but says
the challenge now must be to get the Member States
to fully support the measures outlined as indicated
in the communication -"The ENP should be a policy
of the Union with the Member States aligning their
own bilateral efforts in support of its overall policy
Chairman Sergei Mitrokhin turns 48.
Eugeniya Chirikova, leader of the
movement in protection of Khimki Forest sends him
— I am congratulating Sergei
Mitrokhin on his birthday! I think he is one of the
most understanding Russian politicians. He was the
first to offer help with the problems of Khimki Forest
and he was the only one who saved life to [journalist
and Editor-in-Chief of the oppositional Khimkinskaya
Pravda paper] Mikhail Beketov arranging for his hospitalization.
Sergei Mitrokhin has been helping us a lot and we
are very grateful to him for this. We are wishing
him good health, happiness and success.
The European Liberal Democrat and
Reform Party Council, convening in Dresden, Germany
on 20 May 2011:
Notes with deep concern:
- Reports on political reprisals against
Oleg Orlov, Russian human rights activist, winner
of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize and Chair
of the "Memorial" Human Rights Centre, for
voicing criticism of Chechen authorities about the
investigation into the murder of human rights activist
Natalya Estemirova in 2009;
- That trials initiated by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov,
the latest of which is set to resume in June, are
clearly politically motivated, raise serious questions
on the functioning of the Russian judicial system,
and demonstrate the desire of the Chechen authorities
to prevent Orlov voicing his opinion.
Calls upon Russian authorities to:
- Stop trials and harassments against
Oleg Orlov and other human rights defenders and properly
investigate such attacks and trials;
- Properly investigate the murder of Natalya Estemirova
and bring the perpetrators to justice.
ELDR will continue to closely monitor
events in Russia.
...This report contains the
situation analysis of human rights violations in the
RD and the authorities’ attempts to achieve
the rule of law and consolidation of the society.
The report consists of various parts...
The main points of the political programme
of Magomedov (new President of the RD since 2010)
are the following: modernization of economy, change
of the methods regarding the fight against terrorism,
rule of law. The main obstacles are: the high level
of corruption, undeveloped, subsidized economy, unemployment,
poverty, terrorism, instability in the region. New
policy is not supported and welcomed by both sides:
armed militants continue their activity, and state
defense and law enforcement agencies do not follow
the rule of law and legal order...
With 95 percent of votes counted on
Friday morning, the Democratic Alliance's (LI full
member) share of the vote in South African municipal
election was an impressive 22.27%, up 6 percent from
national elections in 2009. The DA was thrilled about
winning Midvaal municipality again, the only municipality
not controlled by ruling party ANC in Gauteng, the
province where metropolitans Johannesburg and Pretoria
are located. “The results so far are unbelievable”,
party leader Premier Helen Zille said on Thursday.
The DA seems set to effortlessly take the City of
Cape Town, its traditional stronghold, where it had
won over 65 percent of the votes by Thursday night.
In the rest of the Western Cape, DA has won with an
outright majority in 19 out of 29 municipalities...
Grigory Yavlinsky is a politician
recognised and respected by the world democratic community.
He is a regular participant of the meetings of the
International Crisis Committee, the World Economic
Forum, the Trilateral Commission, etc.
Grigory Yavlinsky has been one of
the initiators of nomination of Chinese dissident
Liu Xiaobo, a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.
We began our conversation with discussion of this
QUESTION: Grigory Alexeyevich, when
you decided to nominate Chinese dissident for the
[Nobel Peace] Prize, did you think about that the
reaction in the world would be controversial?..
Party leader Sergei Mitrokhin and
YABLOKO party activists have been detained by Russian
police after protesting the planned deforestation
of Khimki Forest (a region which covers 1000 acres
in Moscow). When Mithrokin arrived on the scene to
join the peaceful protest, he witnessed activists
being herded into a van by police forces. Mithrokhin
himself was also detained and will likely be charged
with disobedience of police instruction. Witnesses
were alarmed by the fact that the police forces were
being directed by a non-uniformed individual, igniting
speculation that this was a government mandated operation.
Party officials directed criticism towards the government
and their attempt to silence a peaceful protest conducted
by a federally recognized political party just ahead
of “Victory Day”. According to Mr. Mithrokin:
“'I assess the actions of the police [to be]
a purposeful provocation of the Khimki district authorities
on the verge of Victory Day.” Yabloko is a full
member of Liberal International, first joining at
the Budapest Congress in 2002.
ALDE expresses its great disappointment
as regards today's extraordinary JHA Council meeting
to discuss the Commission's communication of 4th May
on a comprehensive and sustainable migration policy.
ALDE President Guy Verhofstadt said: "Answers
to migration flows should not be about giving in to
insular reflexes and reintroducing border controls,
either for persons or for goods. It is about developing
a common border management, a common asylum system
and a common legal migration framework. What we need
is more European cooperation to tackle crime and illegal
immigration, not a weakening of one of the EU's greatest
He added: "The Rome and Paris'
ping-pong game over 25.000 migrants has invented a
problem that did not exist. Italy and France played
with fire and now others feel emboldened to reintroduce
checks at their borders to combat cross border crime,
creating a dangerous precedent. We are concerned by
Denmark's decision to reintroduce border controls.
We fear a real sabotage of what Europe has built over
the last 61 years"...
By Marianne Spangenberg-Carlier,
Vice-President of D66 Women/Men/Human Rights thematic
D66 News Letter, May 10, 2011.
YABLOKO is the oldest
democratic party in Russia. One important issue at
hand during the conference concerned worries that
because of the low birthrate of Russian women, abortion
might become illegal (now allowed within 12 weeks)
or not covered by the health insurance. Another issue
brought to attention by Yabloko, is the concern of
so-called soldier-mothers about the situation of young
conscripts (one year army duty is obliged) improvement
Turkish MP Nursuna Memecan (AKP) mentioned
recent changes made to improve the position of women...
Grigory Yavlinsky, famous Russian
politician and economist met with SKOLKOVO’s
students. Mr Yavlinsky was as a guest speaker at the
MBA practical module, devoted to the projects in social
and government sectors.
Sergei Mitrokhin’s intrerview
to Moskovsky Komsomolets
May 3, 2011
Question: What is happening with YABLOKO,
why has it not had any success either in the regional
or the federal elections?
Sergei Mitrokhin: Do we have elections
in our country? You remember October 2009 in Moscow.
At the polling stations where Putin, Medvedev, and
Luzhkov voted, YABLOKO got 15-17%. While in places
where I voted with my family we got zero. Why? In
the places where the bosses voted, no-one dared to
falsify anything. Only islands for free elections
remain today - due to oversights, because although
we have an authoritarian regime it is not very tough.
In places where we manage to ensure a fair count of
the votes, we get what we are due. In Sebezhsky district
in Pskov Oblast - 20.6% of the vote and second place
after United Russia. In Kolchuginsky district Vladimir
Oblast - more than 20%, second place after the LDPR
(Liberal Democratic Party of Russia), but the head
of our list was elected head of the district...
It is with dismay we have learned
of the forthcoming criminal trial against Oleg Orlov,
head of Memorial and 2009 laureate of the European
Parliament's Sakharov Prize. This trial, scheduled
for 17 May and initiated by the Chechen leader Ramzan
Kadyrov, is clearly politically motivated and raises
serious questions on the functioning of the Russian
The European Union has been granted
‘super observer' status in the United Nations,
which will allow the EU High Representative for Foreign
Affairs Catherine Ashton to speak on behalf of the
EU. This elevation of the EU status was determined
by a vote in the UN General Assembly which saw 180
countries out of 192 voting in favour. Though this
does not give the EU voting rights, representatives
of the EU will be able to participate in the general
debate, present proposals and amendments and sponsor
resolutions. The ALDE group in the European Parliament
(LI full member) has expressly welcomed the vote.
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP, Germany), Deputy Leader
of the ALDE Group, said 'The clear vote in favour
of the resolution is an important diplomatic success
for the EU in a difficult political environment. The
EU will enjoy greater weight at the UN, which more
adequately reflects its importance on the world stage.
The ALDE Group congratulates Cathy Ashton on this
The founder of the Yabloko Party analyses the political
situation. Article by Grigory Yavlinsky on radio Svoboda.
This year marks the 20th anniversary
since Russia emerged from the ruins of the USSR. Peaceful
rejection of the previous totalitarian system represented
a historical achievement of global proportions. At
the time society was clearly ready for change and
the construction of a new life based on respect for
the individual, democratic principles and a free competitive
economy. Today we understand that this potential has
not been realized. These dreams have not come true...
...The people are organizing their
lives outside the state. The people are taking flight,
as they believe the state to be alien, and naturally
not to offer them any support. At critical moments
in the past (such as in 1917 and 1991) this led to
the state’s disappearance...
The US and other countries,
including Russia, should adopt measures so that to
prevent possible “acts of revenge” after
the death of terrorist Osama bin Laden, said Sergei
Mitrokhin, leader of the opposition party YABLOKO.
“Elimination of bin Laden is
a positive event. This is certainly a huge plus for
Barack Obama… However, now the Americans should
not only rejoice and triumph, but also prepare to
possible acts of terror which terrorists may commit
as the acts of revenge,” Mitrokhin said on Monday...
After having heard the news of the
death of Osama bin Laden, Guy Verhofstadt, President
of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament, felt
relief. Verhofstadt was President of the European
Council back in 2001 when 9/11 took place. In the
name of the European Union he called these attacks
Following the unprecedented developments
in North Africa, voices have been raised for cutting
the freedoms of the Schengen agreement that allows
for free travel within Europe to combat illegal migration.
If needed, the rules of the Schengen agreement can
already be adjusted in exceptional circumstances.
European Liberals warn to open this pandora’s
box of changing treaties as it is the axe to the idea
of an open Europe, which is one of the cornerstones
of the EU...
LI full member party Yabloko has expressed
great concerns over the recent charges made against
Russian Human Rights Activist Oleg Orlov due to his
comments that the Moscow-backed President of Chechnya,
Ramzan Kadyrov, is politically responsible for the
murder of fellow human rights activist Natalya Estemirova
in July 2009. According to Yabloko leader, Sergei
Mitrokhin: ““Ramzan Kadyrov's case is
a special case even for our generally low political
culture. Even in our conditions of extreme restrictions
on freedom of speech and general judicial arbitrariness,
it never occurred to anyone to make allegations of
political responsibility a subject of a law suit…Russia's
policies on Chechnya have to be changed sooner or
later. The carte blanche to Ramzan Kadyrov and the
people around him is not infinite. We urge the Russian
leadership to realize this and change the policies
to a more responsible approach. And we repeat: persecution
of Oleg Orlov is inadmissible.” Mr. Orlov is
the head of the Russian civil rights defence organization
Memorial, which won the EU's 2009 Sakharov Prize for
Freedom and thought.
The ELDR Party and our member, Yabloko,
have expressed concern about the political reprisals
made against Oleg Orlov human rights activist and
former winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov
Prize (honouring the defence of human rights and freedom
of thought), and current chair of the Human Rights
Centre "Memorial" for voicing criticism
about the investigation into the murder of human rights
activist Natalya Estemirova in 2009...
As the Arab Spring is spreading to
a number of Middle Eastern and Gulf countries it is
becoming all the more imperative for European countries
to agree a common position and common response. This
is particularly urgent in the cases of Syria, Yemen
and Bahrain where citizens are mobilising in their
thousands on a daily basis for political freedom and
democracy yet frequently paying with their lives...
elections bring about government change in Finland
ELDR Press Release,
April 18, 2011.
The financial crisis has finally taken
its toll in Finland. Like in so many other European
precedents, the sitting government, led for the last
eight years by ELDR member party Keskusta (Centre
Party), was punished when the country's population
placed its votes yesterday, on Sunday 17 April, in
what was widely described beforehand as the most interesting
and unpredictable elections ever in Finland.
The elections were greatly influenced
by inter alia Finland’s participation in the
controversial EU bail-out packages. Despite great
efforts on the campaign trail, Prime Minister Mari
Kiviniemi's party was left trailing and is now likely
to face a four-year spell in opposition. In total,
they managed to gather 35 MPs, which places them as
fourth largest party in the country...
"Russia - Europe:
Partnership for Modernisation" – such is the
title of the international forum taking place at Novy
Arbat street, Moscow on Monday. The key topic of the
meeting is establishing partnership agreements between
Russian and European manufacturers.
According to representatives of the
YABLOKO party who participated in the forum, a large-scale
organisation of joint business should start with abolishing
of the visa regime between Russia and EU member states.
In addition, important changes should be introduced
“It is very important so that the
visa regime is abolished and we insist on this. And
it is very important that our institutions become
consistent with the European institutions. I mean
here laws referring to functioning of business and
transparency of state bodies for all the citizens,”
stressed Galina Mikhalyova, Executive Secretary of
the Political Committee of the YABLOKO party...
Ten years have passed
since ruining of the private independent television
channel and dissolution of the team of 1journalists
who had been showing to the country every day how
important the profession of a journalist is for the
society and freedom of speech. On April 14, 2001,
the management of the NTV channel was completely changed.
And virtually from this moment censorship has been
widely exercised in Russia...
...Earlier this week Sergei Mitrokhin,
leader of ELDR member party, Yabloko, was arrested
and detained by police for taking part in a protest
to demand the closure of a cement plant in the Pechatniki
district of Moscow. The plant is situated in close
proximity to a residential area and is considered
a health concern for local residents.
Yabloko applied for permission to
conduct a peaceful protest at the plant, but the local
authorities delayed, beyond the legal limit, a response
to the application and even though permission was
eventually granted, Yabloko activists were prevented
from holding their protest and Mitrokhin was arrested
European Liberal Democrats are the
strongest supporters of human rights and the rule
of law and consider these values to be fundamental
to the future relationship between the EU and Russia.
Stopping peaceful demonstrations contravenes an essential
human right and this is a worrying sign, particularly
in view of upcoming parliamentary elections to be
held in Russia later this year.
Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of LI full
member YABLOKO, was arrested at a peaceful picket
in Moscow yesterday (13 April). Yabloko activists
were demonstrating against a cement plant, demanding
the authorities to close it down, as it poses a health
risk to nearby residents. Despite YABLOKO having applied
for permission to picket, police arrived at the scene
claiming that YABLOKO lacked a valid permission. Following
his arrest, Mr Mitrohkin was detained for more than
3 hours. Commenting on the events to LI news, Mitrohkin
says: 'Such detentions of people coming to legal and
permitted rallies and pickets have already formed
a dangerous trend in Russia: we often witness unmotivated
police violence in breaking peaceful rallies or pickets,
filing of criminal cases against people who dare to
criticise the governments or administrations or defend
their civil rights. All this means further curbing
of the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in
contrast to loud statements made by Russian top officials.'
Sergei Mitrokhin now has to appear in court accused
of participating in an unsanctioned picket.
As tension continues to mount over
the treatment of migrants fleeing from North African
countries, solidarity and respect for agreed rules
amongst EU Member States appears to be falling apart.
Remarks by Italian Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni
at yesterday's JHA Council meeting in Luxembourg that
Italy might leave the EU over the issue marks a new
low in relations between Europe's Mediterranean countries
who have been passing the buck over responsibility
for processing the thousands of additional requests
for entry visas for North African migrants...
On April 10 member of the Political
Committee of the YABLOKO party Grigory Yavlinsky turns
Here come congratulations to Grigory
Yavlinsky from the head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly
Service Igor Artemyev.
Dear Grigory Alexeyevich,
Please receive my heartiest congratulations on your
It is absolutely clear that our lives would have been
different if we had not the opportunity to work and
be friends with you. Your impeccable record as political
and public figure serves as model for many people
in this country and abroad. Having immense knowledge
in the world economics and politics and great professional
experience you manage to transfer these to other generations
and implement your ideas. Let me on this day express
my deep respect to you and let all your plans come
true, also wishing you success, health and prosperity
to you and your next of kin!
...Stressing that the consequences
of a nuclear accident go beyond national borders and
need to be tackled at a multinational level, Lena
EK (Centre Party, Sweden), ALDE spokesperson for the
Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE), said:
"There is an obvious need for close cooperation,
coordination and exchange of information within the
EU and with neighbouring third countries. We need
a strategy that goes beyond EU borders and that provides
common standards guaranteeing a high level of nuclear
Ai Weiwei, a vocal critic of the Chinese
regime who is best known for designing Beijing's Bird's
Nest Olympic stadium and the current 'sunflower seed'
installation in London's Tate Modern, was detained
in Beijing yesterday and remains unreachable since
being held by Chinese authorities at the capital's
Addressing a Liberal and Democrat
conference today in Brussels, Guy Verhofstadt warned
against retreating into a "nationalist air-raid
shelter" and called for society to adapt to the
new multi-polar world whilst turning the process of
globalisation into a positive rather than negative
concept, developing humane and sustainable migration
policies and remaining true to the open society...
YABLOKO (LI full member) last week
organised a rally in Izhevsk, Udmurtia, against the
ruling party United Russia, attracting a crowd of
1,200 people. In his speech at the rally YABLOKO leader
Sergei Mitrokhin claimed that United Russia is taking
advantage of the Russian population for its own financial
gain. “We do not have a choice — either
we let them to steal everything here, or we will return
our country back to us,” Mitrokhin said. He
concluded that: “However, the fault here lies
on us, rather than on the United Russia party, because,
it is us who allow to do all this to us and seems
that we do not have self-respect as a nation.”
The EU should use a three-way approach:
peace, trade and aid Meeting in Madrid, Spain, the
Leadership of the ELDR Party has discussed the situation
in the Arab World and calls for three main points
in Euro-Arab relations following the UN Security Council's
meeting yesterday (17 March 2011)...
“The YABLOKO party has constantly
been facing arbitrary rule and politically biased
violation of its rights at elections of all levels
for many years already”, YABLOKO leader (LI
full member) Sergei Mitrokhin comments in the wake
of the Russian regional elections which took place
last Sunday. Local election officials banned over
45 percent of the candidates nominated by the YABLOKO
party, compared with 0.8 percent for the ruling United
Russia, which on average won about 50 percent of votes.
“The most wide spread techniques are those targeted
at ousting the party from elections already at the
stage of registration at election campaigns…
YABLOKO insists that all the political parties should
have equal rights to participate in the elections
without any preliminary requirements”, Mitrokhin
further said. According to YABLOKO, the election day
again revealed much fraud, such as compulsion of public
servants to vote for the ruling party, bribing of
voters and mass-scale ballot-stuffing. YABLOKO will
apply to courts arguing the elections results and
YABLOKO's founder Grigory Yavlinsky
stressed that Russia lacked equality of citizens before
the law, not to mention gender equality. Speaking
about the gender equality he stressed the following:
"There is a law submitted to the Russian parliament
and targeted at hampering gender discrimination. The
law was submitted in 1995. However, it was not examined
and the parliament did not want to adopt it. This
is an issue of political culture and the policies."
Yavlinsky also stated that the key
problems Russia's women have to face now was home
violence and economic discrimination. "That is
why we are ranked 55th in the world as of gender equality
and 99th as of women's participation in politics.
Women's wages in Russia are normally only 60-70 per
cent of men's wages," he noted...
The fall-out from the Japanese tsunami
has inevitably dominated media reports and blurred
international attention to the rout of the Libyan
opposition, left to fend off Gaddafi and his mercenaries
by themselves. Today at a meeting
in Parliament to assess the results of last week's
European Council, Guy Verhofstadt denounced the inability
of the EU to take decisive action on the Libyan crisis.
"This makes me sick," he declared...
European Liberal Democrats extend
their whole-hearted condolences to people residing
in Japan following the saddening developments reported
over the weekend, when the country suffered both an
earthquake and a tsunami, resulting in vast devastation
and enormous loss of both life and personal belongings...
...Grigoriy Yavlinskiy discussed with
Biden the prospects of setting up joint Russian-NATO
missile defence, and the internal political situation
in the Russian Federation, the Yabloko press service
has told Interfax.
"Yavlinskiy regards joint missile defence as
the most substantial and promising aspect of Russian-US
security cooperation, which is importance not only
for the two countries but for the whole world,"
Yabloko press secretary Igor Yakovlev said.
Touching upon the internal political situation in
Russia, the former party leader said that its main
difficulties, including the lack of vital democratic
procedures, had long been known. In this context,
he believes that it is important to realize that the
issue that has to be tackled is the replacement of
the system created back in the 1990s, and this is
a much more complex and in-depth process than the
change of personalities in power...
LI full member YABLOKO is outraged
by the treatment of its activists in the North Caucasus,
who were unlawfully detained on 28 February while
protesting against the deforestation of a public area
of protected trees, where recreational cottages have
been built for the Governor of Krasnodar Krai. Last
week, three of the jailed activists went on a hunger
strike to protest the unjust verdict of imprisonment
and the dire conditions of detention. YABLOKO leader
Sergei Mitrokhin said that the cells in which the
detainees were held were unlit and had poor sanitary
facilities. He further commented: 'The police broke
not only Russian law, but also inner normative acts
of the interior, protecting unlawfully constructed
cottages. Moreover the police actions against peaceful
citizens were tough and violent.' YABLOKO has conducted
numerous actions of support and forwarded letters
to the Public Prosecutor and the Interior Minister
demanding them to investigate the actions of the police
and the regional authorities, but has yet to receive
a response. The activists have now been released...
Three lessons can be learned from
the popular democratic uprisings which should inform
our policy from now on.
The first is that it is no good preaching
the values of democracy if we arm its enemies. Having
armed Gadhafi and other autocrats there is a logical
case to be made for arming the protesters, particularly
if we fail to live up to the ‘duty to protect’
laid down in the UN Charter: but this policy should
be pursued only in extremis. Most important, however,
is to stop arms sales to autocratic regimes wherever
they are: democracy’s appeal is not limited
to north Africa, nor the temptation to beleaguered
autocrats to use arms against their own people...
The ALDE Group arranged for two senior
members of the National Interim Council of Libya to
come to Strasbourg this week to hear directly from
them what should be done to support those fighting
for freedom and democracy in Libya. Dr. Ali A. S .
Al-Issawi and Dr. Mahmoud Gebril Elwarfally were appointed
Ministers of the National Interim Council last weekend.
Dr Al-Issawi was Libya's Ambassador to India until
his resignation in February in protest of the attacks
by Gaddafi on the Libyan protesters...
Over the years, ELDR has adopted many
resolutions that aim to a fairer society which notices
many of the structural indifferences leading to different
opportunities for the different sexes. For today's
Centenary of the International Women's Day, here are
ELDR's adopted positions on gender issues. European
Liberal Democrats believe in equal rights and opportunities
for both women and men with the active support of
society, as the whole of society benefits when women
and men can contribute on equal terms...
ELDR's Estonian member parties; Reform
Party and Centre Party both achieved very good results
in Sunday's general election with a combined score
of over 50% of the public vote.
Reform Party polled 28.6% of the votes
which is enough to see the party win 33 seats in the
101 seat parliament and retain their position as the
leading party in government. Reform Party is set to
return to coalition with the conservatives, as was
the case in the last parliament, with Andrus Ansip,
leader of Reform Party, remaining as prime minister.
This would mean that the Centre Party,
which scored an impressive 23.3% and returns with
26 MPs, would be the strongest opposition party...
Boris Vishnevsky’s blog
at the Ekho Moskvy web-site, March 5, 2011.
...According to Achilov, virtually
all the prisoners rights were violated in this prison:
right to a walk, right to have bedclothes, to use
toilet, to receive parcels from families and so on.
The night of their arrest they were not even allowed
to have water and call a doctor. The cells, according
to Achilov, "remind of Inquisition dungeons”,
they are dark, without artificial or natural light,
the prisoners are not allowed to use toilet even in
the morning, food is disgusting (despite statements
made [by the authorities] that RUR 400 [USD 13] are
allotted for maintenance of each prisoner per day).
Now, according to Achilov, Dmitry Shevchenko is running
high temperature (38 degrees), he is coughing typically
of pneumonia, and Gazaryan has approximately the same
high temperature too. Protesting against such conditions
of detention and unjust verdict of imprisonment Gazaryan,
Shevchenko and Vitishko went on a hunger strike; whereas
there is no doctor in this jail...
When Boris Nemtsov, Ilya Yashin and
Konstantine Kosyakin were detained at Triumphalnaya
square in Moscow on New Year's Eve, and court sentenced
them to an unlawful arrest from 5 to 15 days, a huge
number of people spoke in their defence, whereas YABLOKO’s
leaders were among the first to protest against this
However, the conditions in which my
friends and colleagues from YABLOKO held in the Tuapse
jail are many times worse and more humiliating than
those the aforementioned "Moscow prisoners"
were in. But no one hurries to recognise Gazaryan,
or Shevchenko, or Vitishko a "prisoner of conscience."
No prominent public or political figures speak in
their defence. Their arrest does not outrage U.S.
senators and European parliamentarians. Finally, we
do not hear anything about public speeches by Nemtsov
or Yashin on this topic. Maybe I have missed something.
Or maybe they are silent because its will be improper
after this to habitually claim that YABLOKO in contrast
to them is “not an opposition”?..
Vier Aktivisten der liberalen Oppositionspartei
YABLOKO und der NGO Environmental Watch of the Northern
Caucasus wurden am Sonntag, den 28. Februar 2011,
in einem Areal, genannt „Tkachyov Datscha“,
des Gouverneurs Alexander Tkachyov von Krasnodar verhaftet.
„Tkachyov Datscha“ ist
die informelle Bezeichnung eines exklusiven Erholunskomplexes,
erbaut für den Gouverneur des Krasnodar Gebietes
am Schwarzen Meer in der Blauen Bucht...
Local election officials have banned
about 45 percent of the candidates nominated by the
liberal Yabloko party for the March regional elections,
compared with 0.8 percent for the ruling United Russia,
Kommersant reported Thursday...
...The unfinished mansion has been
at the center of tabloid controversy since last December,
when businessman Sergei Kolesnikov claimed that state
funds were being diverted to build a personal palace
for the prime minister...
Last month, Environment Watch North
Caucasus, a local green group that says the complex
was illegally built on publicly owned forestland,
got close enough to the site to take more photos before
being detained by the Federal Guard Service...
Last Sunday, about 20 Environment
Watch and Yabloko activists held a "protest picnic"
at a comparatively modest four-story brick structure
they say is being built for Krasnodar region Governor
"We found dozens of violations.
First of all, it is partially built on forestland;
then it violates the Water Code by blocking off free
access to the shore," said Andrei Filimonov,
deputy coordinator of Environment Watch, who was at
the protests. They also found
evidence of the felling of endangered Pitsunda pines,
On Wednesday, the four went on a hunger
strike to protest the conditions they are being held
LI President Hans van Baalen MEP has
released a statement calling on the UN Security Council
to enforce a no-fly-zone above Libya in order to prevent
Colonel Gaddafi from turning military assets against
his own people. He also stated that Egypt, a country
he visited last week, should be supported in its willingness
to lead a humanitarian mission into Libya. The UN,
EU and individual countries have imposed sanctions
such as an asset freeze and travel ban on Gaddafi's
regime. Commenting on the international sanctions
thus far, Italian Senator Emma Bonino (Radicali Italiani,
LI full member), said: “As usual, it's too little,
too late.” Ms Bonino is also a strong advocate
of a no-fly zone. German Foreign minister Guido Westerwelle,
leader of LI full member the Freie Demokratische Partei,
on Tuesday brought forth the idea of appointing a
United Nations special envoy for Libya, in Libya:
“We need a special envoy to allow the international
community to mark its presence and to evaluate and
coordinate humanitarian efforts,” he said.
Following a weekend visit to Cairo,
Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE group leader), Edward McMillan-Scott
(Lib Dem, UK) and Hans Van Baalen (VVD, Netherlands
and President of Liberal International) are urging
the European Union to develop a comprehensive action
plan for support and investment in North Africa as
a concrete way to bolster support for the new democracy
movements spreading across the region...
Following an initiative by ALDE, the
European Parliament last week adopted a resolution
on the rule of law in Russia. Guy Verhofstadt MEP
and Kristiina Ojuland MEP wrote an open letter to
President Putin outlining ALDE's paragraph in the
resolution, and stating: “Russia is an important
neighbour and has a duty, through its commitments
as a member of the Council of Europe, to live up to
European standards of democracy, fundamental rights
and the Rule of Law”. LI full member YABLOKO
welcomes these efforts to facilitate the establishment
of the rule of law in their country and develop partner
relations between the EU and Russia. “We have
always advocated the view that the work should be
based on universal human liberal values, rather than
Realpolitik. Only on this basis can we build a democratic
law-governed state, and create a sustainable competitive
partnership between the EU and Russia. The discussion
in the European Parliament demonstrates that increasingly
more European politicians have begun sharing this
approach”, says YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin...
The ALDE group secured a paragraph
in the resolution adopted by the European Parliament
last week on Russia, reminding “the Council
and the High Representative of the full array of appropriate
measures that may be used when faced with systematic
human rights abuses and failures to uphold the rule
Yesterday, on Tuesday 22 February
2011, ELDR Member Party Alliance for a New Kosovo
(AKR) Party Leader Behgjet Pacolli was elected President
of the Republic of Kosovo by the newly assembled Kosovo
Parliament, following the decision by AKR to join
the coalition government led by Prime Minister Hashim
Thaci’s Democratic Party PDK. In this coalition,
AKR will also gain the posts of Deputy Prime Minister
and three Ministries: Mimoza Kusari Lila will become
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry,
Ferid Agani Minister of Health and Agim Ceku Minister
This Friday (25 February) Irish citizens
will go to the polls to elect a new parliament and
government. Ahead of the election, Micheál
Martin, leader of ELDR member Fianna Fáil,
has written an article for the ELDR Party about the
current political landscape in Ireland and what Fianna
Fail's priorities are for the next parliamentary term...
The Estonian Parliamentary elections will be held
on 6 March, and ELDR Member Parties Reformierakond
(Reform Party) and Keskerakond (Centre Party) will
be playing central roles...
Following the resignation of Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February, LI President
Hans van Baalen MEP issued the following statement:
“Liberal International applauds
the fact that President Mubarak has resigned. It is
our steadfast hope that this change will bring about
a democratic transitional government ahead of the
upcoming elections in the autumn. Liberal International
encourages all liberals and democrats who desire an
Egypt that holds democracy and the rule of law as
paramount values to especially support Dr. Osama Harb
[leader of LI-Full member the Democratic front Party]
and Ayman Nour [leader of LI-Observer El-Ghad] and
all others who are dedicated to a free, fair and democratic
LI full member YABLOKO is conducting
protest actions in reaction to the withdrawal of YABLOKO's
candidates from regional elections in Russia, scheduled
for March 2011... YABLOKO party leader Sergei Mitrokhin
says that recent statements by President Medvedev's
that “the political system has become more just
and there has been less criticism of the electoral
process” does not reflect the real situation...
seminar, ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt
"Russia will always be an important neighbour
and strategic partner for the EU. But we shall not
be silent when violations of human rights and the
rule of law are common place. Our commitment is to
the Russian people, who deserve better.
"Council of Europe, OSCE or WTO membership entails
obligations. For a serious international player that
Russia aspires to be, meeting international commitments
"Russian authorities would be well advised to
pursue a more liberal agenda. This means introducing
true competition, guaranteeing political freedoms,
distinguishing between oligarchs and politicians,
and most importantly adhering to the rule of law.
"Modernisation of Russia will only be successful
if this liberal agenda is first put into practice.
Building on the current flawed economic and political
system will lead to nothing."
Kriistina Ojuland MEP
(ALDE, Estonian Reform Party), former Foreign Minister
of Estonia and ALDE spokesperson on EU Russian relations,
"We believe that a modernisation of Russia should
not only entail economic and market reforms but also
calls for greater democracy, political freedoms, and
respect for human rights and the rule of law.
"I welcome the European Parliament's initiative
to establish an early monitoring group in order to
observe the preparations of the forthcoming parliamentary
and presidential elections.
"I would very much welcome a prompt resolution
by the European parliament on the situation regarding
the rule of law in Russia."
How to build a modern democracy in Russia (a complete
version). Novaya Gazeta, January 20,
By Sergei Mitrokhin, Chairman of the YABLOKO party.
...Russia’s "special way"
goes past the stage of historical development, which
is in charge of forming of the great triad of Western
modernisation: the bourgeoisie – civil society
- the rule of law.
The bourgeoisie more than any other
social groups has been interested in the establishment
of such fundamental principles of the modern Western
society as equality of all before law, individual
freedom, freedom of entrepreneurship, etc., that created
the conditions for a huge leap in the development
made by the Western world...
As the situation on the streets of
Egyptian cities continues to develop rapidly, western
diplomatic services and European leaders are struggling
to find a position. Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the
Liberal group in the European Parliament insists that
Parliament request the EU High Representative to address
the latest developments in her intervention this week
"The EU needs to keep up with events. The situation
on the ground in Egypt is dramatic and evolving rapidly.
The European Union must urgently formulate a coherent
message that lays out concrete steps to encourage
a transition to pluralist democracy and respect for
fundamental freedoms in the country. It is no good
sitting on the fence and waiting to see whether the
regime will prevail over the will of the people. However
this is exactly what European leaders are doing right
Following the Moscow airport bombings,
world liberal leaders have spoken out against the
attacks. On behalf of the LI President, LI Secretary
General Emil Kirjas expressed hope that “the
perpetrators will be found and brought to justice”,
further expressing the desire that “…Russian
state policies become more democratic and tolerant
so that everyone, including those from the marginalized
communities can feel included and supported by the
state.” German Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle
characterised the attacks as “barbaric”
and “condemned [the] callous attack in the strongest
terms.” Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal
Party of Canada (LPC) expressed his deepest sympathies
on behalf of the LPC and stated that: “This
senseless act of violence reminds us that these attacks
can occur anywhere, and we must remain vigilant against
those who threaten terrorism to our own citizens at
home and abroad.” On behalf of the ALDE group
in the European Parliament, Kristiina Ojuland, co-rapporteur
of the European Parliament on Russia expressed her
condolences to all the victims and the relatives of
Deputy head of the Bashkirian branch
of LI full member Yabloko, Damir Garifullin, has been
hospitalised following an attack on 17 January which
left him severely injured. According to Sergei Naumkin,
Head of Bashkirian Yabloko, “on January 6, 2011,
Damir was registered as a candidate to the deputies
of the State Assembly of the Republic of Bashkortostan.
In view of this we think that the investigators should
not rule out the version that someone was trying to
remove an undesirable candidate to the legislative
body of the republic in such a way.” Damir was
involved in all areas that his
Yabloko branch is working in, and reportedly various
people from the local government as well as from law
enforcement bodies had expressed their dissatisfaction
with Damir. Naumkin also called the government and
the head of the Republic to conduct an unbiased investigation
of this attack and punish the guilty. Yabloko leader
Sergei Mitrokhin is also filing applications to the
Public Prosecutor General and head of the Investigation
Commenting on the European Parliament's
strong condemnation of the brutal oppression of opposition
and civil society in Belarus in the aftermath of the
presidential elections in December, ALDE MEP Kristiina
Ojuland (Estonian Reform Party, Estonia) said: "Today
the European Parliament is sending a strong message
of support to the people of Belarus, demanding the
immediate and unconditional release of all political
detainees and an immediate stop to all forms of harassment
and threats against members of the protesting public...
"When EU core values, like freedom
of media, are at stake there is no time to lose before
taking action. We have asked the Commission to act
promptly to ensure freedom of media in Hungary, under
threat by the newly adopted Media law and the Commission
has given us today a first assurance," said ALDE
Leader Guy Verhofstadt, welcoming Barroso's declared
intention, during today's question time with the President
of the Commission, to send a letter to the Hungarian
government this week indicating the crucial points
of the Media Law that Hungary should change...
Liberals in Europe and worldwide have
closed ranks to make a strong call upon the Belarusian
government to release all journalists, opposition
candidates and civil society representatives who face
For liberal parties and their representatives in the
European and national parliaments the brutal repression
of the peaceful demonstrations following the presidential
elections on 19 December 2010 is completely unacceptable...
Moscow, December 30, 2010. INTERFAX.
Grigory Yavlinsky, member of Political Committee of
the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO, supports
the statement of the party in connection with a sentence
to Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev and considers
the verdict by the court unlawful and subject to revision.
“I completely share YABLOKO’s
position as put down in the today’s statement
by the party. The sentence to Mikhail Khodorkovsky
and Platon Lebedev comes from a political decision,
adopted outside court, therefore this verdict is unlawful
and should be abrogated,” stressed Grigory Yavlinsky.
“The YUKOS case is an instrument
for intimidation of the Russian business,” he
This year will see increasingly politicized
environmental movements sprouting up around local
issues, and an alliance between green groups and businessmen
to open up Russia's potential in renewable energy
— provided there are no more fires...
Protesters failed to close the Baikal
paper mill and a government-appointed commission gave
the Khimki highway project the go ahead in December.
But the public outcry over both “put regional
environmental problems on the federal agenda,”
said Alexei Yablokov, who heads the Yabloko party's
That puts single-issue pressure groups
in the peculiar position of being disillusioned with
their current tactics, but in a strong position to
open a new front: the overtly political.
“We're expecting a strengthening
and greater politicization of the green movement in
2011,” Yablokov said in e-mailed comments. “Groups
that previously avoided politics have come to understand
that, without political decisions, nothing gets done,
laws don't work”...
The protection of "strategic
interests, defense capability and state security"
is the reason now given by the Audit Chamber for classifying
the results of its 2008 investigation into the alleged
$4 billion worth of financial violations by state-owned
Mitrokhin requested records from the
Audit Chamber after Navalny published reports accusing
Transneft of stealing $4 billion. The disclosure on
the Internet created a sensation, with scores of bloggers
filing online complaints to the chamber and the Prosecutor
General's Office, demanding an investigation into
the alleged wrongdoings...
The liberal forces of Europe strongly
deplore the dismal developments on human rights in
parts of Europe during the past couple of weeks. Beginning
with Belarus; what could be perceived on the outset
as slight progress in allowing several candidates
to run against Aleksander Lukashenko in the Presidential
elections soon turned into the direct opposite...
Moving on to Russia; not only are
there fundamental reasons to question the sentence
of Mikhail Khodorkovsky to an additional six years
of imprisonment - but European Liberals are also critical
of the current state of human rights and freedom of
assembly in Russia. The day after the Khodorkovsky
sentence, opposition party leader Boris Nemtsov was
detained together with 130 others in Moscow and St.
Petersburg, and had to spend 15 days in prison for
"disobedience of police", a token sentence
that runs against the right of freedom of speech and
assembly, one of the cornerstones of the European
system which is also deeply embedded in the statutes
of the Council of Europe, to which Russia is member...
Following an original proposal in
2009 by Marian Harkin, MEP (Independent, Ireland),
2011 was designated as the European Year of Volunteering
and was formally launched in Budapest this weekend
by European Commissioner Viviane Reding and the Hungarian
State President Pal Schmitt.