Boris Vishnevsky's blog at
the Ekho Moskvi web-site, December 22, 2012.
"Vote for anyone but the [ruling]
United Russia! ", this is how Alexei Navalny
tried to persuade people on the threashold of the
State Duma elections [in December 2011]. Such a variant
of voting was supported then by Eunegia Chirikova,
Grigory Golosov, Andrei Buzin, Artemiy Troitsky, Grigory
Chkhartishvili [Boris Akunin] and others.
A large part of the protest electorate
followed that advice, thus the Just Russia and the
Communist party candidates got into the Duma (whereas
their results were much higher than they had expected).
However, YABLOKO did not get into the Duma, as many
people chose to vote for the Just Russia so that “not
to vote in vain”. And another part of those
who could have supported the democratic opposition
and get it into the Duma spoiled their ballots tempted
by persuasions by Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov,
Viktor Shenderovich, Dmitry Bykov, Andrei Piontkovsky
and others to choose the “off with all of you”
strategy. Which, as I recall, its authors proudly
called "a real threat to the government"
and "the only correct strategy leading to a change
of government and restoring of fair elections"...
A year has passed, and that the Duma adopts the "law
of scoundrels" [i.e. the law on orphans]. [The
ruling] United Russia and Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s
faction and the communists and the Just Russia factions
vote in unison on a single impulse: 420 of 450 votes
"for" the law is almost an unprecedented
result for parliament. Everything is clear with the
Zhirinovsky’s faction and the communists. But
some people vested hopes in the [socialist] Just Russia.
But how did the latter vote?..
St.Petersburg, Dec. 24, RIA Novosti.
Alexander Shishlov, Human Rights Commissioner in St.
Petersburg, considers the adoption of amendments to
the draft law "On measures against persons involved
in violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms,
rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation"
prohibiting the adoption of Russian orphans by U.S.
"The adoption of the amendments
prohibiting adoptions of orphaned Russian children
by U.S. citizens seems to me a very cynical act. The
authors of the amendments virtually propose to apply
"sanctions" not against the individuals
involved in human rights violations (which, as follows
from its title the draft law targets at), but against
Russian children who can not find a family in Russia
at present, " said Shishlov...
On December 20, representatives of
non-parliamentary parties spoke to the deputies of
the Krasnoyarsk Region Legislative Assembly. Oksana
Demchenko, Chair of the Krasnoyarsk regional branch
of YABLOKO, urged the lawmakers to oblige the owners
of the Boguchanskaya Hydroelectric Power Station to
evaluate and compensate for the damage caused to the
environment and local people, as well as conduct an
environmental assessment of their further development
of the Lower Angara River area.
According to Demchenko, the creation of powerful new
industries in the area (an aluminum plant, a timber
complex and wood-chemical and pulp and paper mills)
is impossible without a strategic environmental assessment,
otherwise the present practices of development of
the territories will inevitably lead to an imbalance
between the industrial development and the environment.
"The lack of a strategic environmental assessment
of the investment projects does not allow to create
a model of a rational use of natural resources in
the region," she said in her speech. Oksana Demchenko
also recalled that six weeks ago, the federal Political
Council of the YABLOKO party sent a special message
to the Legislative Assembly of the Krasnoyarsk region,
noting disturbing examples of negligence of the standards
of social and environmental responsibility in the
Lower Angara area...
ALDE spokeswoman on Russia Kristiina
Ojuland MEP today expressed satisfaction at news of
the two-year reduction in the prison sentence of businessman
Mikhail Khodorkovsky but warned EU leaders at today's
EU-Russia summit not to be misled...
"This welcome news on the Khodorkovsky
case should not be allowed to obscure the profound
deterioration in the rule of law in Russia"...
Orange Democratic Movement, LI partner
and Africa Liberal Network member, has formally nominated
Prime Minister Raila Odinga to contest Kenya's presidency
at the elections next year. Speaking after the nomination,
PM Odinga said ODM represents the interests of 40
million Kenyans and that he wanted to sign an agreement
with Kenyans about the services he hopes to deliver
when he wins the poll. Odinga reiterated that creation
of jobs would go hand in hand with investment in infrastructure
and in education: 'We will ensure that every child
gets quality education regardless of the economic
status of their parents'. ODM unveiled a new six-point
manifesto focused on rule of law and an end to impunity,
genuine devolution of power and resources, wealth
and job creation, equal protection and social protection
for all, one united Kenyan nation and land reforms.
In the World Today Resolution adopted at the Abidjan
Congress, 'LI expresses solidarity with liberal forces
in [Kenya], including ALN member the ODM of PM Odinga…[and]
calls for an election campaign free of violence, intimidation
or ethnic hatred.'
Grigory Yavlinsky's Live Journal,
December 19, 2012.
The issue on the [Russian Duma] ban
on adoptions of [Russian] orphans by Americans is
important. I am very sorry for the children.
It is a significant law. Not only
it gives another proof of stupidity and the resulting
cruelty, but also demonstrates the Bolshevik and Stalinist
nature of the Russian political system. A kind of
capitalism with a Stalin's face.
Bolsheviks and Stalinists always take
a "revenge" on their enemy in such a way
that it brings a huge and often irreparable damage
to the citizens of Russia, in this case to desolate
and helpless children, whom they regard as their property,
as serfs, as inanimate objects...
The sanctions against Russian orphans
imposed by the State Duma are a disgusting, cruel,
unfair and cowardly decision adopted in a unanimous
On Saturday 15 December, Mihai Ghimpu
MP, President of the Liberal Party of Moldova, Corina
Fusu MP, Deputy President of the Liberal Party and
Elena Prus, President of the Institute for Liberal
Studies opened the conference "Liberals - the
engine of European integration of Moldova" .
Sir Graham Watson MEP, President of the ALDE Party
addressed conference participants in a video message.
He encouraged Moldova's European integration aim and
appreciated the efforts of the MPs and ministers of
adjusting the national framework to European standards
Yabloko Party representative in the
Russian Federation, Galina Michaleva, spoke about
the relationship between Russia and the EU and about
the problems of the post-Soviet countries in the process
of EU integration. The Expert of the Foreign Policy
Association, Eugen Revenco spoke about the role of
civil society in Moldova's European integration...
On Monday morning, ALDE Party President
Sir Graham Watson MEP hosted a breakfast for members
of the press and presented a liberal view on the latest
headlines around Europe before answering questions.
He first welcomed the result of the
elections in Romania, remarking: “despite the
low turnout, early indications are the ruling USL
social-liberal alliance in Romania has won a large
majority of the popular vote which could rise to as
much as 70%. I now foresee a period of difficult cohabitation
in the country.”
“I see a lot of parallels with
the situations in Romania and in Italy,” he
continued. “I regret the pulling of support
by Silvio Berlusconi's People of Liberty party for
the government of Mario Monti and I fear that in the
aftermath of this election, the pressure for economic
discipline could slip. The last thing we need at this
time are crises in those two economies which are bigger
Sir Graham also answered questions
on the UN Climate Summit in Doha, Qatar, that concluded
on Sunday and which he attended...
"Tomorrow's EU summit in Brussels
lacks ambition", according to ALDE group leader,
Guy Verhofstadt, addressing the European Parliament
in Strasbourg today.
"Last June, the European Council decided that
by the end of the year 'a time bound road map for
the achievement of a genuine economic and monetary
union' would be agreed, yet expectations of any agreement
at this week's summit are so low that EU leaders might
as well stay home."
"Meanwhile the crisis is not over, spreads remain
above 400 base points for Spain and the mere prospect
of a return of Berlusconi to politics in Italy sends
shock waves through the markets"...
Sharon Bowles (UK, Lib Dem), chairwoman of Parliament's
economic and monetary affairs committee, underlined
the cost of delay: "Delay may be politically
convenient but it has a high cost - not just in financial
terms, but in the human cost and the blight of uncertainty
that lies over the plans of individuals and businesses
At the initiative of Silvana Koch-Mehrin
(FDP, Germany) and Kristiina Ojuland (Reform Party,
Estonia), the ALDE group held today a seminar on the
trade relationship between EU and Russia with the
key participation of Pascal Lamy, General Director
of the WTO, and Karel de Gucht, EU Commissioner for
Trade. Russia is the EU's third largest trading partner.
In a resolution adopted during last October's plenary
session, the European Parliament stressed that its
accession to the WTO should accelerate reforms in
Russia, including the fight against corruption and
application of the rule of law...
"The internet is borderless and
it is its decentralised organisation that has created
so much value for billions of people worldwide",
said ALDE Party President Sir Graham Watson
as the delegates of the world conference of the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU) gathered for the opening
in Dubai discussing a revision of a global treaty
governing the internet.
Many states and corporations seek
a tight grip on the internet to suppress people or
pursue vested business interests but the internet
must remain free to allow people to freely create
and innovate, organise and influence economic progress
and societal development.
Sergei Mitrokhin’s blog
at the Ekho Moskvi Radio Station web-site, November 28, 2012.
December 4 marks a mournful date.
A year ago our country suffered a terrible loss: elections
to the State Duma which took place on this day hammered
the last nail in the coffin of fair elections.
Deeply regretting this and we are
urging all of you to commemorate the death day of
the most important democratic procedure.
We invite all those grieving with
us to participate in the mourning ceremony. Let us
honor the memory of the deceased – please bring
white carnations to the main entrance of the Central
Electoral Commission office (Bolshoi Cherkassky pereuluk,
If access to the main entrance is blocked, the flowers
can be left anywhere by the Central Electoral Commission
YABLOKO activists plan to lay flowers starting from
11:00 a.m., I will come to the ceremony at 12:00...
LI Prize for Freedom Laureate and
Leader of the opposition National League for Democracy,
Aung San Suu Kyi, met with US President Barack Obama
in Burma earlier this week which further solidified
the remarkable democratization progress that the country
has been undergoing for the past year. Her welcoming
speech to the President was marked with concern as
she clearly stressed that while the on-going reforms
by the Burmese government are certainly encouraging
one should use caution and remember that many prisoners
of conscience still remain behind bars...
Press Release, the ALDE party,
November 26, 2012
Convèrgencia i Unió (CiU)
continues to be the leading political force in the
Catalan parliament with 50 seats after last Sunday's
elections. While Party leader Artur Mas will have
to form a coalition agreement in order to hold a parliamentarian
majority, he does “not regret his decision to
call for new elections, since it was necessary to
find out where the majorities were,” according
to Mas. With a strong economic programme to propel
Catalonia out the financial crisis and a pledge to
call for a referendum on the future status of Catalonia,
CiU is expected to lead the future coalition government...
Liberals and Democrats in the European
Parliament (ALDE) firmly support Commissioner Reding
with regard to her EU-wide gender quota plan to increase
the number of women in leadership roles presented
today. In March 2012 ALDE called for such binding
measures to reverse the insufficient progress made
towards better gender-balance in corporate management
boards. The liberals acknowledge that quotas are a
very blunt instrument but a necessary evil at the
same time because voluntary measures have proven unsuccessful
in addressing the equality gap. The legislation put
forward today includes clear quotas to increase female
representation in companies' boards to 40% by 2020...
Suren Ghazaryan, PhD, is a speleologist
and biologist studying bats in the Institute of Ecology
of Mountain Territories of the Kabardino-Balkar Research
Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, member
of the Northern Caucasus Environmental Watch non-governmental
prganisation. His and Yegeny Vitishko’s participation
in the public campaign against the seizure of forest
and coastline at the Black Sea (near the village of
Dzhubga) by Governor of the Krasnodar Territory Alexander
Tkachyo resulted in criminal prosecution against Ghazaryan
and Vitishko and three years of a suspended sentence
for the "damage to property" ("This
is our forest", "Alexander is a thief!"
was written on the fence around the Governor’s
However, earlier environmentalists
had got several answers from the Public Prosecutor’s
Office where the latter had been denying the existence
of any fence around the Governor’s cottage located
at unlawfully seized public lands...
Continuing the series of LI Public
Dialogue events, the leader of the Russian liberal
party Yabloko (LI full member) Sergei Mitrokhin addressed
the assembledaudience in London
focusing on the current trends in Russian politics
and the perspectives of future democratic development
of his country.
In his speech Mitrokhin warned that Russia had
'a similar situation exactly 100 years ago', and continued:
'Today we observe a new wave of reprisals in Russia
against opposition activists and all dissenters against
the backdrop of the curb on human rights and freedoms;
suppression of the freedom of speech; use of the law
enforcement and the judiciary as a tool for reprisals.''
Hosting the event in the Houses of Parliament Simon
Hughes MP, Deputy Leader of LibDems (LI full member)
and Lord Alderdice, immediate past LI President, expressed
concern about the ongoing deterioration of civil rights
and liberties in Russia. They praised Mitrokhin and
Yabloko for their peaceful, but decisive actions in
fighting to safeguard the freedoms of the Russian
people, guaranteed by the international European instruments
that Russia has ratified.
lecture in the British Parliment. London,
November 12, 2012
...Soon it will turn a year since
the beginning of mass protest rallies in Russia. For
many people these rallies meant hopes for rapid democratic
changes. Frankly speaking, I have never shared such
an optimistic point of view.
For me, it was clear that Vladimir
Putin would consider the awakening of the society
as disorders and side-affects of the "liberalization"
carried out by ex President Dmitry Medvedev. And this
meant that Putin’s only possible response to the mass
protests could be "tightening the screws"
or, in other words, increase of reprisals.
This is how Vladimir Putin’s regime
tries to avoid the fate of his Middle Eastern counterparts.
Obviously, Putin has been very concerned of the fates
of his colleagues from the Arab world, and this makes
him take up preventive measures against the Arab Spring
scenario in Russia...
Being a Liberal in Russia
is a risky vocation, as putting one’s head above
the parapet politically is an invitation to harrassment,
arrest, criminal proceedings and heafty fines or imprisonment.
High profile anti-establishment activists such as
Pussy Riot get lots of foreign media attention and
noises of sympathy from the outside world, of course,
but even in their case that did not stop two of their
number being sentenced to two years detention each
in different gulags. Alas, as the leader of Russia’s
Liberal Party Yabloko, Sergei Mitrokhin, detailed
in a speech at Westminster this lunchtime, the long
arm of President Putin’s law is getting firmer.
He highlighted three aspects of particular concern
regarding the current political situation in Russia
and the crackdown against Liberal forces...
- a new wave of reprisals in Russia
against opposition activists and all dissenters against
the present government’s policies against the
backdrop of the curb on human rights and freedoms;
suppression of the freedom of speech; use of the law
enforcement and the judiciary as a tool for reprisals;
- persecution against YABLOKO activists
and candidates to the regional parliament Suren Gazaryan
and Yenegy Vitishko, who have been charged with a
criminal offence that could lead to their imprisonment
for criticising Krasnodar Region Governor Alexander
Tkachev for his unlawful seizure of public lands and
their fight for human rights and environmental safety
in the region
- On the ALDE groups to raise the
issue in the European Parliament and the Council of
Europe and draw the attention of the Russian government
to the inadmissibility of persecutions for criticism,
in violation of Russia’s obligations relating
to its membership of the Council of Europe and in
direct contrast with the statements of the Russian
authorities on adherence to democratic values;
- On the Russian government to stop
the reprisals against Gazaryan and Vitishko and revoke
the unlawful court decisions against them and punish
those guilty of giving false evidence and prosecutions.
Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache
17. Wahlperiode 06. 11. 2012
Der Bundestag wolle beschliessen:
I. Der Deutsche Bundestag stellt fest:
Russland ist ein zentraler Partner fur Deutschland
und Europa. Als standiges Mitglied des Sicherheitsrates
der Vereinten Nationen, als Mitglied der G8 sowie
des Europarates und der Europaischen Menschenrechtskonvention,
strategischer Partner Deutschlands und wichtigster
ist Russland von besonderer Bedeutung; regionale und
globale Herausforderungen konnen nur mit und
nicht gegen Russland bewaltigt werden. Russland ist
unabdingbar fur eine gesamteuropaische Friedensordnung...
Iranian lawyer and human rights activist
Nasrin Sotoudeh and Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi
have won the Sakharov Prize 2012 which is the annual
human rights prize of the European Parliament. They
were nominated for the award by the ALDE group and
other MEPs in recognition of their exceptional courage
in exposing state-sponsored persecution and Human
Ms. Sotoudeh (Tehran, 1963) was arrested
in September 2010 on suspicion of spreading propaganda
and conspiring to harm state security. She is currently
serving a six-year jail sentence, in solitary confinement,
in the notorious Evin prison, in addition to disbarment
and a ten-year ban on leaving the country. Jafar Panahi
is an Iranian film director whose films focus on the
hardships of children, the impoverished and women
Open Vld Leader Alexander De Croo
replaces Vincent Van Quickenborne as the new Pensions
Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in the Belgian
federal government. He was sworn in by King Albert
II on Monday. The appointment of Alexander De Croo
will allow him to take part in the difficult discussions
on next year's budget.
Van Quickenborne will become the new
Mayor of the city of Kortrijk, where he ended 150
years of Christian democrat rule...
Searches in the apartments of Sergei
Udaltsov and his parents deepen the political crisis
in the country and reinforce the split between the
state and the society.
The campaign of reprisals against Sergei Udaltsov
and other opposition activists resembles as of its
scenario Stalin's trials against "enemies of
the people". Starting with a public denunciation
as a very questionable film "Anatomy of a Protest-2"
[depicting opposition activists as spies or bought
up puppets] further under the screams of lickspittles
and “denunciators” from the United Russia
party this campaign has transferred into the phase
of direct reprisals with the prospects of many years
of camp life [for Udaltsov].
Searches in the apartment of a political
opponent to the government in view of his political
activities represents a repressive act of political
Not sharing Sergei Udaltsov’s political views,
I think it unacceptable to use such methods for "neutralisation"
against any representative of the political opposition.
The YABLOKO party demands to immediately stop this
openly ordered campaign by the investigators against
Sergei Udaltsov, Nicholai Kavkazsky and other people
arrested in accordance with the so-called "Bolotnaya
Square protesters case"...
Following announcement of the preliminary
results of the Parliamentary elections in Lithuania,
Guy Verhofstadt made the following statement:
"I am very pleased to acknowledge that Liberal
and Democrats in Lithuania have scored a convincing
victory in the Parliamentary elections. I would like
to congratulate Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE MEP) and his
Labour Party (Darbo partija) that has doubled its
support and with 20% of the vote, as the largest political
party is poised to form the incoming government. This
is an excellent result for the Labour Party that in
the opposition party has worked vigorously and consistently
in support of its electorate."
"The Liberal Movement (Lietuvos Respublikos liberalu
sajudis) has got the highest evaluation for the work
it has done in the outgoing government. After 4 years
in the government, taking the lead on difficult and
sometimes controversial areas of public life, the
Liberal Movement has further increased its support.
That is both a recognition and an encouragement to
continue promoting liberal agenda in Lithuania."
Reacting to the Nobel peace prize
being awarded to the European Union, Guy Verhofstadt,
ALDE group leader in the European Parliament said:
"We strongly welcome the recognition by the Nobel
Peace committee of the contribution that the European
Union has made over the last 70 years to turn a previously
war ridden continent into a peace project...
In two recent publications released
this month, prominent liberal MEPs Guy Verhofstadt
and Andrew Duff make the case for a more federal Europe.
Last week, ALDE Group Leader Mr Verhofstadt launched
his book ‘For Europe: a manifesto for a postnational
revolution in Europe’ alongside co-author Green
MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit.“What we have tried to
describe, is what a more federal Europe means,”
Mr Verhofstadt said. “That means more than a
discussion on policy, it means you build a real European
government, a European democracy. “
British Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew
Duff, the ALDE group’s coordinator on constitutional
affairs in the European Parliament, has also launched
a new pamphlet on economic government at the EU level
entitled ‘On governing Europe’. In this
pamphlet he reflects on how the EU has reacted to
date in light of the financial and economic crisis
and argues that the lack of a credible discernible
government of the political economy has become a problem
and requires a new sort of federal economic government...
...Wolf Klinz (FDP, Germany) ALDE
spokesperson said: "Recent events have shown
that the current legislation on insider dealing and
market manipulation urgently needed a review. We need
to keep pace with market and technological developments
and ensure that new markets, platforms and instruments
are all covered. Markets have become more integrated
and we have observed an increasing tendency of cross-border
market abuse, which has a serious impact not only
on market confidence but also on financial stability
and the real economy. Market integrity needs to be
guaranteed. That's why we proposed to establish functioning
cross border surveillance mechanisms to detect market
manipulation taking place across several venues"...
Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe,
September 28, 2012.
A nervous reaction displayed by the
Russian authorities for the PACE resolution on the
implementation of Moscow’s obligations on the
democratic development [of Russia] which has not been
promulgated yet, is caused, according to experts,
by two main factors. First, the Kremlin reorients
its foreign policy and foreign economic strategy from
Europe to Eurasia. Secondly, the recent repressive
policies towards the civil society will inevitably
affect [Russia’s] behaviour on the international
arena. Alexei Arbatov, international relations expert
and Director of the Center for International Security
of the Russian Academy of Sciences, talks about this
in his interview to the Radio Liberty...
This is a part of the interview I
gave on Friday to Channel 1 on their request for Sunday
night news on the 20th anniversary of privatization
in Russia. The channel did not show it… It is
a pity, as the topic is important and the fruits of
this ill-conceived privatization have been still affecting
Here comes the answer to the journalist’s
question whether there was any alternative privatization
Yes, there was another programme which I developed.
This programme envisaged that all the money accumulated
by people in the Soviet period had to be used for
purchasing of assets. At that time money in the hands
of the population amounted to about 10 trillion roubles,
[this was money] in different forms including population’s
savings in the Savings Bank that, according to conservative
estimates, amounted to approximately 315 billion roubles.
According to the dollar/rouble rate of 2007, the savings,
and not only those kept in the Savings Bank, but all
kinds of savings, including the State Insurance Bonds
and securities, reached, according to the recent estimates,
about 350 - 380 billion roubles. This is what had
been cumulated throughout the Soviet period.
My programme implied that the money
should be spent on the purchase of, as it was called
then, the "means of production" or, as it
is today called, the assets. Then there was a very
large imbalance between the amount of money in hands
and the commodity weight. In fact, the commodity weight
reached only 14 kopeks per a rouble of savings. This
means that a person intending to spend a rouble could
find goods only for 14 kopeks. However, if our privatization
programme had been implemented, then hairdressers’,
small shops, trucks, that is, all what constituted
small and medium privatization could have added to
the traditional goods (such as suits, sausage, or
whatever was sold in the Soviet Union then)...
Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Leader welcomed
the results of the parliamentary elections in Georgia
which saw liberals greatly reinforce their position
in the Georgian Parliament...
candidate Murad Nurmuradov severely beaten in attack
LI News Bulletin, Issue 302, September 27, 2012
Russian lawyer and liberal candidate
Murad Nurmuradov was badly
attacked in the city of Tver on 25 September.
Nurmuradov is one of the top figures on the YABLOKO
(Russian United Democratic Party, LI full member)
list of candidates for elections to the Tver City
Duma. According to reports, two unidentified men in
masks and camouflage uniforms entered Nurmuradov's
office and attacked him. This has led to Nurmuradov
being hospitalized with a broken arm and other multiple
injuries, including to his head. In a statement Sergei
Mitrokhin, YABLOKO chair and opposition member of
the Moscow City Duma, said: “Members of the
Tver branch of YABLOKO do not rule out the political
causes of the case — an attack against a principled
lawyer attorney and increasingly popular politician.
An open attack against a registered candidate is a
challenge to the city and its residents. We demand
a thoroughly investigation of this case by the law
enforcement. The goal of the crime was clearly intimidation.
But they will not scare us!”
On Tuesday, Dutch liberal MP Anouchka
van Miltenburg was elected as the new President of
the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch Parliament.
Before, Van Miltenburg was Deputy leader of the VVD
parliamentary group. Two other candidates stood in
the election, Khadija Arib (Social Democrats) and
Gerard Schouw (ELDR member D66).
VVD Group Leader Stef Blok welcomed
her election: "We're proud Anouchka won the election.
The Parliament will have a tough, fair and cheerful
chairwoman. I wish her all the best."
Kristina Ojuland, ALDE Spokesperson
on Russia and the rapporteur on ‘Magnitsky Law’
for the European Parliament welcomed broad support
from the Foreign Affairs Committee this morning for
her report recommending to the Council establishing
common visa restrictions for Russian officials involved
in the Sergei Magnitsky case. This report will now
come before the whole European Parliament for vote
Guy Verhofstadt: "Today's dismisal
of Gennady Gudkov, Member of the State Duma for Just
Russia opposition party demonstrates clearly that
in Putin's Russia there is no space for dissent and
opposition. Putin's majority in the Duma appears to
be there for rubberstamping decrees. That is not in
accordance with the norms of a Council of Europe member
...Solovyov: Grigory Alexeyevich,
we have been actively discussing the beginning of
the political season here. What is your forecast for
this autumn - what issues will be most important...?
Yavlinsky: ... But speaking about the forecast, it
is, unfortunately, not very difficult. What forecast
can be given, if it is obvious that laws in the country
function very relatively? That court is not independent.
That property rights depend on the power and the power
and property have merged into one entity.
But more than that, what forecast can be made, if
a dramatic decline of culture, political culture and
general culture, in the country has become an absolute
And it is reflected, for example,
in the structure of [Russia’s] budget. Simply
look how much is allotted on education and how much
on health care and the development of the country,
and how much on other directions... Well, what forecast
can you make proceeding from this? Maybe only for
the next two months?
These are strategic issues.
Solovyov: Does this mean that you see the coming disaster?
Yavlinsky: I would say it is a disaster, but large
hardships are definitely ahead...
Guy VERHOFSTADT, leader of the Alliance
of Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament,
congratulates VVD-leader Mark Rutte, who again won
the Dutch elections last night and D66-leader Alexander
Pechtold, after an election campaign in which Europe
played a leading role. "I warmly congratulate
Mark Rutte on achieving the best ever results for
the VVD and Alexander Pechtold on increasing the number
of seats for D66 for the fifth time in a row.
I am looking forward to continue working with them
in the months and years ahead"...
It is with great sadness that we announce
the recent death of one of the truly early Europeans,
Prof. Dr. Horst Günter Krenzler on July 20, 2012
at the age of 79.
Prof. Krenzler had a distinguished career in the European
Commission - till 1996 - as Director General for External
Relations. Afterwards, he taught International and
European Law at the Munich Ludwig Maximilian University...
On Monday the working group of the
Human Right Council began examination of CVs of new
candidates to the Council.
Renowned human rights activists Valery
Borschyov, member of YABLOKO’s Political Committee,
and Andrei Babushkin, member of YABLOKO Bureau, were
among the first persons whose CVs were approved and
thus will participate in the Internet consultation...
The working group will examine about
190 CVs of the candidates. The CVs were forwarded
from non-profit organisations, Russian Ombudsman and
According to the presidential decree
of 2011, the Council will comprise 40 members.
August 27, 2012
to Court: Cancel the verdict on Pussy Riot
LI News Bulletin, Issue 297, August 23, 2012
Commenting on the two year sentence
given to the Russian Pussy Riot punk group, LI 2004
Prize for Freedom laureate and former leader of Yabloko
(LI Full Member), Grigory Yavlinsky said: “The
political protest by Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
and Ekaterina Samutsevich has in fact very serious
grounds. It is a protest against election fraud conducted
to usurp power, and against censorship in the media,
the lies and corruption, hypocrisy and injustice.
The long term of imprisonment of the girls, forcing
the atmosphere of unforgiveness and vengeance, does
much more harm to the Russian society than their outrage
in the temple.” Yabloko has condemned the controversial
trial of the three members of the Russian band since
their arrest on charges of hooliganism and religious
hostility after performing a protest song against
President Vladimir Putin at Moscow's main Cathedral.
Yavlinsky expressed hope that the Russian High Court
will cancel the wrong verdict and set the girls free
as this will correspond both to the interests of the
country and the goals of the Church.
...Organizing the lawsuit in the form
that we have the misfortune to watch, the authorities
are aiming at intimidation.
This is not good for the country,
and it is harmful to the Church. Intimidation is not
the solution. Perhaps fear may drive the protest depthward
for some time, but it will not disappear, and at some
circumstances it will come to the surface in a much
more radical forms that are more dangerous for the
society. This may be compared with a fire in the peat
fields which goes only depthwards when they are trying
to put it out not correctly, and at hot weather it
comes powerfully to the surface as even a greater
From the legal point of view, the
court should have determined whether the girls’
action had caused considerable harm to the society
and whether their action had displayed the signs of
public danger in the sense of a criminal law, and
base their conclusions not on manipulative reasons...
August 3, 2012
condemns controversial Pussy Riot Trial
LI News Bulletin, Issue 294, August 2, 2012
Yabloko's leader Sergei Mitrokhin (LI
Full Member, Russia) voiced his concerns that the
violation committed by Pussy Riot members does not
constitute grounds for keeping
them in custody. He said: “The developments
demonstrate once again that we can hardly speak about
any genuine liberalization of law-enforcement in Russia.
Considering the political roots of the incident we
cannot rule out that such tough measures are a mere
revenge of the authoritarian state who are using juridical
mechanisms as a reprisal instrument used on personal
motives.” In a statement condemning the arrest
of three female members of the Russian band “Pussy
Riot”, Yabloko expressed clear disagreement
with the charges of hooliganism and religious hostility
brought against them, calling on the authorities for
their immediate release, especially since two of them
are mothers of small children. The members of the
group were arrested in February after performing a
protest song against President Vladimir Putin at Moscow's
main Cathedral. If convicted the women could spend
up to seven years in prison.
In Russland protestieren Bürgerinnen
und Bürger seit Monaten gegen ihre Regierung.
Trotz erheblicher Gegenwehr der Regierungspartei "Einiges
Russland" und obwohl die Polizei gegen die Demonstranten
vorgeht, verstummen die kritischen Stimmen nicht.
Die Bevölkerung ist unzufrieden und Putins überdrüssig
– wie Galina Michaleva während der Russland-Tage
der Uni Bremen berichtete...
The EU High Representative, Baroness
Ashton, today appointed former MEP, Stavros Lambrinidis,
as the new EU Special Representative for Human Rights
- a newly created position with the full backing of
the European Parliament.
Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE group leader
in the European Parliament) welcomed the appointment:
"The appointment of a dedicated EU representative
to defend and uphold respect for Human Rights around
the globe sends a very powerful signal to all the
European Union's partners that we take the matter
extremely seriously and will henceforth place extra
emphasis on this as a central plank of EU foreign
policy under the overall direction of the External
Edward McMillan Scott (Lib Dem, UK),
European Parliament Vice President responsible for
Human Rights and Democracy also welcomed the appointment:
"Stavros is an old friend
and colleague and a former Vice-President of Parliament
himself as well as, latterly, foreign minister for
Greece. As a lawyer he will bring discipline and rigour
to the new Human Rights and democracy strategy and
action plan adopted by EU foreign ministers on 25th
July 27, 2012
"The opposition to win or die heroically?"
LI News Bulletin, Issue 293, July 27, 2012
In an interview, Grigory Yavlinsky,
former leader of Yabloko (LI full member) and 2004
LI Prize for Freedom laureate, analyses the complex
situation in Russia and its future. Yavlinsky says
that "there is not a single person in Russia
who would associate the future of the country with
a goal other than implementation of a strategy helping
to solve the problems evolving at every historical
stage: lawlessness, injustice, dishonesty, disrespect
and poverty." He praises the protest rallies,
but believes that the opposition must unite around
a political platform to overthrow Putin: "Certainly,
it is impossible to win trust via rallies, unreasonable
fights with the police and shouting from the stage.
People will accept only those who for dozens of years
in politics have never deceived them or stolen anything
from the country." He warns: "If the collapse
of the government occurs in the absence of a politically
responsible democratic alternative, then its fragments,
as has already happened in our history, will fall
into the hands of the most irresponsible forces." MORE
activity and organisations are the biggest single
threat against stability and democratic development
in the world. As a liberal I firmly believe in the
right of anyone being who he or she is, without fearing
aggression and oppression. I believe that any kind
of warfare is unjust, especially when it is directed
towards civilians", said LI Vice President Dr.
Dzhevdet Chakarov MP in a statement, with regards
to the terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in his
The publication today of the latest
monitoring report by the European Commission on the
state of judicial reform and fight against corruption
in Romania and Bulgaria highlights ongoing concerns
in both. The report on Romania comes at a time of
heightened political tension in the country following
a recent change in government and a number of controversial
...MK: Yes, the protest movement was
preoccupied mainly with creativity: a competition
of funny banners and photoshopped pictures. It was
too busy with this to think about elections.
GY: Because the people who took on
the role of organisers of the protest movement were
developing the form without filling it with content.
That is why the rallies demonstrated an abundance
of inventions, funny posters and performances. But
by the spring the main "faces" of the protest
have already partially changed. The new “faces”
have quickly realized that it was necessary to leave
the glamour and creativity – it was a deadlock.
They tried to make camps by the fountain at the Pushkin
square, breakthrough to the Manezh square, put forward
incredible demands to the authorities and socialize
at the boulevards. But this was also development of
one form only, without any content, including the
“Occupy Abai” action (Ed. “Occupy
Abai” was a camp in the centre of Moscow by
the monument to Kazakh poet and philosopher Abai Kunanbayev).
It was clear what “Occupy Wall Street”
was about. Wall Street is the personification of the
type of living the “occupants” protest
against. And what does “Occupy Abai” mean?
Again, it is an interesting form of protest but not
filled with so much needed political content.
MK: A transition from the ideological
to the physical opposition was a natural development
of the protests. Is not is how they should grow -
from coming to rallies to creation of permanent camps
of the dissenting? from peaceful methods and slogans
to violent clashes?
GY: No, it isn’t. Because in
case of physical and violent confrontation with the
authorities the protest movement would immediately
lose and in general can be even permanently destroyed.
The organisers of rallies must understand that this
is unacceptable. In addition, if you invite people
to an [officially] permitted rally, they should not
get into trouble - people can not be victimized. If
one is professionally engaged in the organisation
of mass-scale peaceful protests and wants precisely
this, this can be done. If one has other goals, than
it will be the other way.
MK: Do you think ‘the other
way” prevailed during protests on May 6?
GY: The desire for exploring "another
heroic way" has been there for all these months.
However, after the first attempt on December 5, this
thrust was marginal, inferior to the general belief
in the power of peaceful mass protests. But the protest
did not yield immediate results as tangible concessions
from the government, or provided a coherent perspective
that could have been indicated by the political leadership.
Thus, the lead was taken by the left, nationalists
and supporters of the thesis “you cannot make
an omlette without breaking eggs”. The question
of responsibility for the health and lives of people
was either redirected to the government or simply
removed from the agenda. They said that under the
current conditions the true organisers of mass actions
were Twitter and FaceBook...
From Ms Maja KOCIJANCIC, Spokesperson
of Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative of the
Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
The EU has noted the adoption of a
bill yesterday by both houses of the Russian Federal
Assembly that significantly increases fines and reinforces
other forms of punishment for violations during public
events, i.e. rallies and demonstrations.
The EU is concerned about the possible
implications of this bill, many of which have already
been underlined by many Russian politicians, journalists
and civil society actors.
We understand that the signing of
this bill by the President is still under consideration.
We have also taken note of the President’s intention
to consult further and hear all views before taking
a final decision on this bill.
As a neighbour and as Russia's Strategic
Partner, the EU believes that the recent civic activism
offers a valuable opportunity for the state to engage
in a constructive dialogue with civil society which
could bring benefits to both sides. In our view regulations
that discourage civic engagement are not conducive
to achieve this objective. However, some encouraging
reforms have been announced by the Russian government,
and this process should be taken further...
The EU is concerned by reports that
18 peaceful protesters, including some prominent Yabloko
members, were arrested during a peaceful demonstration
against the new bill on public rallies outside the
The EU recalls Russia's international
commitments as a member of the Council of Europe and
the OSCE to guarantee the freedom of expression and
the freedom of assembly.
Signing by Russian President Vladimir
Putin of amendments into the law on rallies and the
Administrative Offenses Code toughening punishment
for violations during mass public actions represents
an actual ban on street political actions, said YABLOKO
leader Sergei Mitrokhin.
"Virtually this represents a
ban on rallies and political actions. Everyone – organizers,
activists and all public persons from all the sides
are under blow," Mitrokhin told Interfax on Friday
He also noted that YABLOKO will not
hold street actions against the law in the nearest
"Everyone may be sentenced to
a slave labour or a huge fine from now on. I can not
call people to come to a rally realizing that they
can be sent to the galleys from there," the oppositional
In an unprecedented turn of events,
Yabloko (LI full-member) leader Sergei Mitrokhin,
along with 12 activists, was arrested by the police
in a peaceful walking protest against the recently
proposed controversial 'law on rallies.' All of the
activists wore T-shirts with the slogan of the action
'The Law On 'Rallies' is a way to a fascist state.'
The law in question will increase fines on demonstrators
who violate public order. Mitrokhin was detained in
a separate room and his lawyer was not allowed to
visit him or be present for the interrogations by
the state police. According to Mitrokhin, the amendments
into the law on rallies and the Administrative Offences
Code adopted recently by the State Duma are installing
a dictatorship in the country. 'Today the government
has signed a verdict for itself. If the protest cannot
be expressed by peaceful and legal means, then it
will find a way out through other means,' said Mitrokhin.
Yabloko's International Officer Olga Radayeva called
the arrests 'absurd' and urged for the immediate release
of the party's leader and activists.
Russian Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin called
for the new law on rallies to be sent back to the
State Duma Committee for revision, while the Council
for Human Rights under the Russian President published
an expert assessment saying that the law violates
Russian Constitution, Interfax reported on June 7.
According to Lukin, "the study
of the law has shown that the document is hasty and
contradictory, lacking a strict concept or clear criteria."
"Instead of developing the procedure for agreeing
the terms of public events and increasing the responsibility
of officials for declining to agree, the focus is
on proscriptive and prescriptive measures," the
statement goes on. It warns that this is "likely
to lead to a rise in the number of un-agreed, radical
and sometimes extremist rallies", while the widely
expected future convictions of rally organisers will
"rightly be seen by citizens as unlawful and
6.06.2012 Ahead of new opposition
protests scheduled for next week, around 20 activists,
including Mr Mitrokhin, leader of Yabloko, protesting
against a bill toughening responsibility for organisation
of and participation in mass rallies were arrested
yesterday in Moscow.
The new law has been approved by the
Russian Parliament and is awaiting promulgation by
President Putin. The bill punishes organisers and
participants of any mass public gathering - even those
lacking formal attributes of a political protest -
for any acts that perturb the circulation of pedestrians
or vehicles, drastically raising fines from max. 5000
rubles (120 €) to max. 300000 rubles (over 7000 €).
"Participation in mass rallies
cannot be the privilege of the rich. The Monitoring
Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly will certainly
be informed of these worrying developments in Russia.
President Putin has the right not to sign the bill.
And I sincerely hope that he will use this right,
taking account of the criticism voiced by lawyers,
civil society and opposition parties, as well as the
demands to engage into public consultations. Another
mechanism available to all member states of the Council
of Europe is the legal opinions of the Venice Commission.
In order to avoid the violation of Council of Europe
standards, it would be appropriate if the Russian
authorities requested such an opinion on the draft
law before it comes into force," said Anne Brasseur,
President of ALDE-PACE.
Strasbourg, 06.06.2012 – The co-rapporteurs
for Russia of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe, Andi Gross (Switzerland,
SOC) and György Frunda (Romania, EPP/CD) today expressed
their serious concern at the adoption by the lower
chamber of the Russian Parliament of a controversial
bill designed to increase fines for orchestrating
unauthorised demonstrations. They called on the upper
chamber – which is due to debate the draft law today
– to reject it and called on the President not to
sign it into law.
The law provides that organisers of
unsanctioned protests can be charged up to the equivalent
of 39,000 euros and participants up to 13,000 euros.
“This measure would undermine freedom
of expression and freedom of assembly,” said the co-rapporteurs.
“It would symbolise a lost opportunity to strengthen
the democratic process in the Russian Federation as
it would close the window of opportunity opened in
the last six months following the massive demonstrations
by the Russian population. The dynamic activity of
society should be used to implement reforms instead
of being suppressed.”
The co-rapporteurs said that in their
view fines of a considerably lower value may be imposed
on the organisers of authorised demonstrations or
individual participants in justified cases when the
latter cause material damage or use violence, and
they should always be decided by the courts. “There
are well-established democratic standards in this
respect, and they should be followed,” they said.
“The advantages of exercising the
right to freedom of expression outweigh by far any
possible disadvantages caused by those who abuse this
right. These advantages considerably contribute to
the development of a pluralistic and democratic society,”
the co-rapporteurs concluded.
By Anna Vvedenskaya
Today police have begun arrests among
the participants of walking protests against adoption
of the law restricting the constitutional right to
assembly and protest. YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin,
Galina Mikhalyova, Executive Secretary of YABLOKO
s Political Committee, Kirill Gontcharov, leader of
the Youth YABLOKO, Sergei Sokolov, municipal deputy
from the YABLOKO party ??“ 18 people in total, nine
of them are YABLOKO members - are arrested by the
State Duma. The police have also used violence in
arresting several civil activists. At present the
police are going on detaining activists...
At this moment in time all of them are realised but
the are faicing charges of "hooliganism"...
Sir Graham Watson MEP, President and
Astrid Thors MP, Vice-President of the ELDR Party
jointly voiced the concern of European Liberals about
the arrests of ELDR member party Yabloko's activists
and other civil society organisations protesting today
against a further limitation of the right to assembly
and to express your opinions freely.
This is particularly disappointing for European Liberals
as this happens only one day after the EU-Russia Summit
where President Vladimir Putin ironically informed
the world that "everybody
is walking freely now" who protested against
the rules regulating mass protests.
"We do agree with European Council President
Herman van Rompuy and Commission President José Manuel
Barroso that we need to build closer relations with
Russia, however, as a signatory to the Council of
Europe, Russia must abide by European standards of
democratic participation for its citizens if it wants
to build a relationship based on shared values as
much as on common interests."
It is not acceptable to fine people for exercising
the fundamental right of assembly on grounds of disrupting
public order as also reported by Human
Russian police earlier today arrested
18 civilian activists just outside the Russian State
Duma, including Sergei Mitrokhin and a number of prominent
Yabloko party members, who had assembled for a peaceful
demonstration, ironically against a proposal for a
law which seeks to enforce tough penalties on civil
protesters. The incident occurred just one day after
the EU-Russia summit in St Petersburg in which issues
of democracy and human rights were kept off the agenda.
"This heavy-handed police intervention against
peaceful protesters shows, with tragic clarity, that
Putin now is trying to crush what remains of civil
action. The promises of reforms from last winter's
large-scale demonstrations were just smokescreens
to secure his re-election" said Guy Verhofstadt,
leader of the ALDE Group.
"The lack of any outcome from the EU-Russia summit
on 3rd and 4th of June in St Petersburg shows that
the EU needs a new policy for dealing with Russia,
based on objective criticism and on an insistence
that democratic standards and the rule of law must
be respected before Russia can be regarded as a true
strategic partner and move forward on issues like
visa free travel"
"The new legislative proposal that calls for
excessive sanctions against all protesters and today's
arrest of Sergei Mitrokhin and others are clear signs
that the Kremlin does not take into the account the
large scale internal and external criticism over the
lack of democracy and rule of law in Russia. Just
last weekend during the EU-Russia Summit, president
Putin indicated that Russia is a country where everybody's
civil rights are guaranteed. Unfortunately the reality
continues to be different. Thus the EU will have to
sharpen the way it deals with Russia and realize that
the brutal reality is far from the marble halls and
palaces President Putin likes to display for visiting
EU delegations" said Kristiina Ojuland, ALDE
Group spokesperson on Russia.
...The proposed amendments would significantly
increase the fines for violating rules for holding
public events and impose various other restrictions
that will make it more difficult and costly for those
opposed to government policies to engage in public
protests, Human Rights Watch said. The proposed amendments
increase the maximum penalty for individuals from
1000 rubles (US$60) to 300,000 rubles (US$9,000).
Penalties for legal entities would reach a maximum
of 1 million rubles (US$30,000)...
Early indications show that the Irish
people have backed the European Stability Treaty in
a nation-wide referendum held yesterday. ALDE welcome
this result underlining that the significance of an
Irish "Yes" cannot be underestimated. Saying
"No" would have lowered Ireland's credibility
in the financial markets and have cut Ireland off
from ESM funds which would have been disastrous...
Commenting on the unofficial Presidential
election results in Egypt, liberals expressed concern
that two main Presidential candidates, Mohammed Mursi
(Muslim Brotherhood) and former Prime Minister Ahmed
Shafiq, are a “worst possible scenario” following
the revolution in the country last year. Mohamed Nosseir,
member of the Political Bureau of FEP, and Mohamed
Abbas, Secretary-General of DFP (LI full member),
explained that “the results of the first round of
the elections are a clear indication that the majority
of voters do not wish to see the Muslim brotherhood
or the old regime take control again” as around 9
million Egyptians decided to vote for the alternative
Presidential candidates (Hamdeen Sabbahi and Abuo
Al Fotoh). Nosseir added that the Egyptian political
forces that account for the remaining votes have met
on June 28 and decided to work together which has
resulted in submitting a document that defends and
promotes the revolution's demand for an Egyptian civil
state. The opposition is hoping that this document
will be endorsed by the Egyptian intellectuals, political
leaders, and artists, and will eventually become obligatory
for whoever wins the coming election.
The singing is over in Azerbaijan
after the Eurovision final. Nonetheless it’s still
time for democracy! Given the last minute arrests
and clamp downs, as reported by the international
and European Liberal Youth present in Baku, Liberals
will remain vigilant! We are greatly concerned if
the government will follow up on their threats to
retaliate further on the opposition after Eurovision.
The European Parliament during its plenary session
on Thursday 24 May, strongly condemned Azerbaijan’s
human rights abuses, the basic breaches and violations
of the principles of democracy, freedom of speech,
rule of law, and in some domains the total lack of
values, specifically calling on the leadership of
the Union to raise these issues when in Baku, or negotiating
energy matters with the country...
Dr. Sergei Mitrokhin, Chair of the
Dr. Marc Guerrero, ELDR Vice President, CDC Catalonia,
Dr. Astrid Thors, ELDR Vice President
Emil Kirjas, Secretary General of Liberal International
Vladimir Lukin, Russia’s Ombudsman.
As the Greek debt crisis continues,
Nick Clegg MP, leader of the Liberal Democrats (LI
Full member) warned that a single currency would not
be capable of surviving solely through fiscal discipline.
The Eurozone must prepare for a possible Greek departure
and must recognize that an ability of countries to
share debt and administer fiscal transfers is what
could keep the Eurozone from collapse. Clegg expressed
feelings that this crisis could lead to electoral
triumph for both the far left and right, which could
lead to increased extremism and xenophobia. He believes
this could be prevented through EU leadership, as
well as policies which reflect a more socially mobile
society. “We must create a more dynamic society. One
where what matters most is the person you become,
not the person you were born… For liberals, this is
core stuff. It gets to the very heart of our politics.
We are a party and a creed that is defined by our
belief in a fairer, more open society,” Clegg said.
This afternoon Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE
group leader), together with Hans van Baalen (VVD,
Netherlands) on behalf of ELDR Party, was able to
visit Yulia Tymoshenko in hospital in Kharkiv in the
north east of Ukraine, following meetings in the morning
with Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov and the
chief prosecutor, Viktor Pshonka.
On Start the Week Andrew Marr discusses
the relationship between markets and morals with the
political philosopher Michael Sandel. In his latest
book, What Money Can't Buy, Sandel questions the dominance
of the financial markets in our daily lives, in which
everything has a price. But the economist Diane Coyle
stands up for her much maligned profession, and points
to the many benefits of a market economy. The Russian
economist Grigory Yavlinksy argues against viewing
the world of money as separate from culture and society:
he believes the financial crisis was merely a symptom
of a wider moral collapse, and that it is time to
examine the way we live.
Producer: Katy Hickman.
The results of the second round of
mayoral elections in Italy last weekend were an outstanding
success for ELDR Vice-President Leoluca Orlando MP.
Obtaining about 73% of votes in the city of Palermo
election, Orlando becomes Mayor of Palermo, an office
he will be holding for the fourth time in his life.
“My election is a response to the wave of anti-politics
in Italy”, said Orlando commenting on his result.
“Backed by my electoral support I will be asking Prime
Minister Monti about his intentions regarding the
current dreadful social question in Italy and particularly
Days after the parliamentary elections
in Armenia, the European Liberal Democrats - ELDR
(LI cooperating organisation) held their spring Council
meeting in the Armenian capital Yerevan. Assembled
delegates from across Europe expressed solidarity
and support to the Armenian opposition, led by the
Armenian National Movement, which saw recent return
to the Armenian Parliament. ELDR President, Sir Graham
Watson MEP, stressed slow democracy progress in Armenia,
and called for intensified steps to ensure sustainable
development in the country saying: “Arguing for gradual
development has always been the subterfuge of the
authoritarian leader. Armenians are perfectly capable
of running a fully democratic society.” The Council
adopted resolutions on Cyprus and UN Arms Trade Treaty.
LI delegation at the Council included LI VP on the
Bureau Abir Al-Sahlani MP, Treasurer Robert W. Browne,
Secretary General Emil Kirjas and Membership and Policy
Officer Robert Wintraecken. Addressing the Council,
Treasurer Robert W. Browne recalled the dialogue between
ELDR and LI Presidents and invited ELDR as a functional
and legally established party to join LI as its Full
St. Petersburg. May 15. Interfax.ru
– Grigory Yavlinsky, founder of the YABLOKO party
and deputy of St.Petersburg Legislative Assembly,
spoke to the participants of the “walking protests”
at the St. Isaac's Square, St.Petersburg.
The [present] “walking protests” should
have a political meaning, they should not happen just
for nothing," he said, adding that the objective
should be victory of democratic forces at elections...
On Friday 11 May, the ELDR held their
Council meeting in Armenia’s capital Yerevan, hosted
by ELDR member Armenian National Movement (ANM). The
outcome of the parliamentary elections, in which ANM
returns to Parliament, was one of the issues debated.
ELDR President Sir Graham Watson MEP
expressed concern that important shortcomings in the
elections have been reported - the vanishable ink
used, disappeared after only 25 minutes allowing for
some voters to vote several times. Additionally, the
fact that there were 2.5 million registered voters
for a total population of 2.8 is a strong indication
that the results have been inflated.
...Basmanny Court on Tuesday ordered
the camp at Chistiye Prudy closed in response to a
lawsuit by residents of the area around the former
camp who complained of inaction by authorities. (Related
Orders Protest Camp Dismantled)
Leader of the liberal Yabloko party
Sergei Mitrokhin called the police action illegal
in a message on Twitter, saying he had filed an appeal
of the Basmanny Court decision late Tuesday.
Sergei Mitrokhin, Chairman of the
YABLOKO party, sent an inquiry [to the prosecutors]
on verification of income statements of four members
of the Federation Council, including Rafgat Altynbayev,
a member of the Federation Council from the Government
of the Ryazan region.
The 7 News agency asked Oleg Kovalyov,
Governor of the Ryazan region, whether he had known
about this fact, and what he his reaction proceeding
from the results of the audit would be.
“I know about this inquiry. If the commission detects
violations, then we will consider recalling of the
Senator,” said the head of the region.
The French presidential election has
been followed with interest throughout Europe. France,
a founding member state, has a weighty influence within
the EU. Guy Verhofstadt, President of the Alliance
of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, welcomes the
election results as the President-elect has made strong
commitments to revitalise the European project.
Guy Verhofstadt said: "Nicolas Sarkozy is an
energetic man who has recently directed his energy
in taking positions on the eurozone crisis and on
the Schengen area that have been particularly disappointing
and alarming for those in Europe who, like me, expect
more from France"...
On Friday 11 and Saturday 12 May,
European Liberal Democrats will meet for the ELDR
Council in Armenia's capital Yerevan. On the agenda
are topics such as democratisation and human rights
in the southern Caucasus, energy security for Europe,
and liberal policies to tackle climate change as well
as other topical issues.
The ELDR Council will follow parliamentary
elections in Armenia to be held on Sunday 6 May. ELDR
member Armenian National Movement (AMN) will participate
on the list of the biggest opposition alliance, the
Armenian National Congress. AMN Leader Aram Manukyan:
"There is a glimmer of hope that these elections
may be different from the previous ones."
The noticeable rise of extremism and
xenophobia among youth across Europe brought prominent
liberals to discuss in Moscow, Russia liberal agenda
for addressing this problem. Prominent speakers included
Sergei Mitrokhin and Grigory Yavlinsky, the leader
and the presidential candidate of Yabloko (LI Full
member), Trine Skei Grande MP, leader of Venstre,
Norway (LI Full member), Astrid Thors MP of SFP, Finland
(LI Full member) and Marc Guerrero, Vice President
of ELDR (LI cooperating organisation), Angelika Mlinar,
leader of Liberales Forum, Austria and Kerstin Lundgren
MP of Center Party, Sweden (LI Full member). In the
welcome speech LI Secretary General Emil Kirjas pledged
for “more opportunities for the young people to participate
in decision making, starting from micro level, including
in families and the local communities. That responsibility
must be based on freedom of expression and dialogue,
discussion, debate.” LI Treasurer Robert W. Browne
spoke on the growth of xenophobia, street protests
and violence in Europe, giving account of the 2011
London riots. A resolution
was adopted that is likely to be further discussed
at the upcoming LI Congress in Abidjan.
From 19 to 22 April, ELDR Vice President
Marc Guerrero was on tour in Ukraine and Russia to
support the activities of the liberal family.
In Kiev, an international ELDR conference
with the local liberal partners from Ukraine, the
Future and the European Youth of Ukraine, was held
which focussed on free market and liberal policies
as the best tools for a democratic and prosperous
society. At the event, the Institute of Democracy
and Liberalism (IdeaL) was launched.
In Moscow, Marc Guerrero and ELDR
Vice President Astrid Thors MP were present at the
conference "Youth under threat of Extremism and
Xenophobia. A liberal response" organised by
ELDR member YABLOKO.
The ALDE Group in the European Parliament
has today launched a procedure inside the European
Parliament seeking to establish a common EU list of
officials responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky,
for the subsequent judicial cover-up and for the on-going
and continuing harassment of his mother and widow...
Alexander Shishlov, member of Yabloko's
(LI Full member) Bureau and LI Vice-President, was
recently elected as Commissioner for Human Rights
in St. Petersburg. His candidacy was supported by
45 out of a total of 50 deputies from St. Petersburg's
Legislative Assembly. Speaking to parliamentarians
Shishlov promised to focus on protection of labour
rights, the rights of the most vulnerable groups of
population, rights to education, medical care and
a healthy environment. Commenting on his election
Shishlov said "A Commissioner for Human Rights
is not just a defender of those whose rights have
been violated. It is a position that links the society
with the government." He also spoke of his commitment
to promoting dialogue and finding a common ground
between public and government agencies and protecting
citizens' rights in such a way as to create "an
atmosphere of cooperation rather than mutual disputes
and misunderstandings." Yabloko's leader Sergei
about the global impact of the Arab Spring on the
Russian political system at the recently convened
188th Executive Committee meeting of Liberal International
After the Arab Spring many people
turned their views to Russia. Many people have been
asking me if these developments resemble the Arab
Spring. I will try to answer this question now.
What is the resemblance between Putin's
governance and the ones of the toppled Arab leaders?
There is obviously a lot in common
between the systems that existed in the Arab countries
and Vladimir Putin's system in Russia.
First of all, it is a political monopoly
and long-term governing of one person who is striving
for a life-long rule. Secondly,
it is political dominance of bureaucracy over society,
and thirdly, presence of oligarchic groups (that are
groups generating their profit from merger of government
and business). Fourth, such
a system is also characterised by huge corruption
penetrating the entire state system.
These are the common traits between
the Putin's system and the toppled systems in the
Arab states.However, there are
also large differences between political systems in
Russia and the Arab states.
Putin's system is more flexible. And
it is aiming at imitation of democracy. For example,
it allows for more elements of the freedom of speech
and provides more space to more or less independent
media. Being more flexible Putin's
system is more prepared to meet the challenges of
the Internet than the authocratic Arab regimes...
After 917 days of delay, with the
required 3/5 majority, Moldova's parliament has finally
elected Nicolae Timofti as the new president of the
Republic. The 63 years old Timofti is the chairman
of the Supreme Council of Magistrates and has pledged
wide-ranging reform, Moldovan military neutrality,
and moving the country toward European integration.
Mr Timofti was nominated for president and backed
by Moldova's ruling pro-Western Alliance for European
Integration (AIE). Mihai Ghimpu, one of the leaders
of the coalition and president of the Liberal Party
in Moldova (LI applicant) expressed his satisfaction
saying: “We elected a good president and for the remaining
three years of mandate we will have to work harder
and show results..."
On Saturday, snap parliamentary elections
were held in Slovakia. Thanks to a great campaign,
ELDR’s Slovak member Sloboda a Solidarita (SaS, Freedom
and Solidarity) gained some 6 % of the votes and returned
11 MPs to the 150-strong Slovak Parliament. SaS were
particularly strong in the larger cities, scoring
around 15 % in the country’s capital Bratislava.
“In a difficult political landscape,
it is delighting to see SaS Leader Richard Sulík and
his party being able to build on young structures
and get re-elected”, commented ELDR President Sir
Graham Watson MEP, and continued “I will visit Bratislava
shortly to discuss projects of mutual interest between
SaS and ELDR – as well as to obviously convey my personal
words of congratulations to the SaS leadership”...
Sophie in 't Veld, (D66, Netherlands),
Parliament's rapporteur on the annual report on the
state of gender equality in the EU for 2011, is pleased
with the result of today's vote, calling on the Commission
to table legislation, including quotas, by the end
of 2012, to increase female participation in corporate
management boards. Measures to combat the lack of
women at the top, both in business and in political
decision making, were discussed during a heated debate
in the European Parliament this week. Progress remains
very slow, despite numerous EU policies aimed at achieving
a better gender-balance...
Voice of America, 11 March
...Viktor Vasilyev: President Medvedev
complained during his meeting with women (on the eve
of the Women’s Day) that in Russia there were very
few women in politics. How can we explain such a situation?
Galina Mikhalyova: The system functions
in such a way. As a rule there are no women in power
in authoritarian regimes, and in democracies there
are many of them on the top. There are special mechanisms
encouraging such a promotion of women. [President]
Medvedev was not going to change anything here. And
speaking about Mr Putin, he does not even have it
in his thoughts. He's such a super-macho... When he
was in power, women’s problems were not mentioned
Viktor Vasilyev: So, you don’t expect
any positive changes in the nearest future, do you?
Galina Mikhalyova: No, there are no positive changes,
while negative changes are obvious. There are few
women in the State Duma. There is no public institution
that would deal with our problems, for example, a
Presidential Council or a council under the Government
or a Commissioner for Women's Rights, as in other
countries. Salaries [of Russian women] consitute two-thirds
[from those of men]. In several regions people who
have small children have to go on hunger strike so
that to get a place for their child in a kindergarten.
Pregnant women are not paid their benefits or get
fired. But the state argues that it has nothing to
do with this disgrace...
If I have a chance to speak at the
rally on March 10, I would demanded the following
from the authorities:
- release of political prisoners;
- show mercy and pardon those who committed minor
- stop unlawful prosecution of businessman Alexei
- investigate all the cases of fraud at [parliamentary]
elections of December 4 and [presidential] elections
of March 4, punish the guilty, completely reform the
Central Electoral Commission and dismiss Vladimir
Churov, head of the commission;
- immediately consider together with the newly emerging
public committees for political reform proposals for
the radical change of the electoral system and to
adopt such proposals.
We continue fighting for what I and
Sergei Mitrokhin spoke about at the rallies on December
10, December 17, December 24, demonstration of February
4 and on March 5:
- complete replacement of the present closed authoritarian,
oligarchic, inhuman political system and legal removal
of the ruling group headed by Vladimir Putin from
- creation in Russia of a system in which law would
be the same for everybody, property - inviolable and
the court - independent;
- creation of committees for political reform across
the country, freedom of media from censorship and
uniting of the democratic forces;
- development of a political, economic, moral and
personal ALTERNATIVE to the present regime which would
be able to win in a peaceful and legitimate political
LI President Hans van Baalen MEP
questioned the democratic character of the Russian
Presidential elections which took place on 5 March
2012. Van Baalen characterised them as "neither
free nor fair like the parliamentary elections held
earlier. Putin rules over a facade democracy. The
institutions are in place but the democratic spirit
is absent. LI, ELDR and ALDE will support the courageous
democratic opposition in Russia which is so much needed
today." Leader Grigory Yavlinsky of Yabloko (LI
Full Member) called
for a "real political, economic and most importantly,
moral alternative." "We will create this
alternative. We will make them conduct new elections
and we will win those elections," Yavlinsky said.
Yabloko Chairman Sergei Mitrokhin said that Putin
won an unfair game. "This wasn't honest, but
cowardice and meanness. It was not only carousels
and stuffing of ballots which brought him victory.
Putin won ousting the only candidate — Yavlinsky —
who had no fear of criticizing him," Mitrokhin
commented. The OSCE
election-monitoring report concluded that there
had been "no real competition".
MOSCOW, 5 March 2012 – Although candidates
in yesterday’s presidential election in the Russian
Federation were able to campaign unhindered, conditions
were clearly skewed in favour of one of the contestants,
current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the international
observers concluded in a statement issued today.
The observers noted that all candidates had access
to the media, but the Prime Minister was given a clear
advantage over his competitors in terms of media presence.
In addition, state resources were mobilized at the
regional level in his support. Also, overly restrictive
candidate registration requirements limited genuine
"This election showed a clear winner with an
absolute majority, avoiding a second round. However,
voter's choice was limited, electoral competition
lacked fairness and an impartial referee was missing.
Due to increased citizen's awareness and involvement
elections were more lively, better managed and more
seriously observed, whereas structural improvements
in electoral regulation were proposed to Parliament
– but not yet passed," said Tiny Kox, the Head
of the delegation of Council of Europe's Parliamentary
"There were serious problems from the very start
of this election. The point of elections is that the
outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case
in Russia. There was no real competition and abuse
of government resources ensured that the ultimate
winner of the election was never in doubt," said
Tonino Picula, the Special Co-ordinator to lead the
short-term OSCE observer mission and Head of the delegation
of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly...
Preliminary results have shown that
Vladimir Putin will complete his long-expected return
as Russia's president after polling around 63% in
yesterday's election, thus avoiding the need for a
second round. Commenting on the outcome of the election,
ELDR President Sir Graham Watson MEP stated, "there
are wide-spread and seemingly justified reservations
about the extent to which this was a free and fair
contest, not only in the way the procedures were conducted
on the day itself, but in the handling of the process
from the very beginning, including the refusal to
register some candidatures."
Despite much publicised initiatives
to make these elections fair and transparent, such
as the installation of closed circuit television cameras
at polling stations, the electoral process as a whole
has been widely condemned as favoring the Putin campaign
from the outset.
Evidence of this stretches back to the refusal by
the Russian Central Electoral Commission to register
opposition candidates, including former YABLOKO leader
Grigory Yavlinsky on the grounds of perceived irregularities
when in fact political engineering of the elections
was the more likely reason.
On what the future may hold, Sir Graham added that
Putin should not expect the Russian people to blindly
accept his rule. "Vladimir Putin might have got
his way in so far as the outcome of the election is
concerned, but the demonstrations that have taken
place since December's parliamentary elections and
the increasing criticism that he is facing from significant
sections of the population and media show that he
will not be in for an easy ride over the next six
years. The extent of ill-feeling towards President
Putin may even cast doubt on his ability to serve
the full-term unless he fundamentally addresses issues
related to the rule of law and the democratic, economic
and social development of Russian society".
...I am appealing to all the opposition
political leaders who are organising protest actions
and inviting people to join them: if violence takes
place during these days, it will lead to dramatic
weakening of the opposition and will cause a long-lasting
setback. It is our responsibility and our task to
avert violence and prevent provocations. In complex
and unpredictable circumstances, in dealing with the
authorities who most often do not want any compromises
on the substance of the matter and who at the same
time possess great experience and traditions of political
reprisals, it is possible to preserve people's trust
only by avoiding and preventing violence in every
way and at the same time advancing steadily toward
the goal - peaceful radical transformation of the
authoritarian, inoperative and inhuman political system...
On the contrary, we should prove to
all our potential supporters that we can be trusted
and that we clearly understand the aims and goals
of the democratic protest movement not as our own
self-expression but as the defence of the interests
of citizens who vitally need large-scale, serious
and responsible changes in Russia. Only in this case
will the number of our supporters throughout the country
become ever greater. Only by following this path will
we become responsible spokesmen for the opinion of
a significant section of Russian society...
In Russland wird ein neuer Präsident
gewählt. Rund 100 Millionen Russen sind aufgerufen
über ihr neues Staatsoberhaupt abzustimmen. Aussichtsreichster
Kandidat ist ein alter Bekannter im Amt des Staatspräsidenten
- Wladimir Putin. Nicht nur deshalb gab es im Vorfeld
der Wahl soviel Trubel wie seit langem nicht mehr.
Vor einem Monat zum Beispiel demonstrierten gleichzeitig
mehr als 200.000 Gegner und Anhänger Putins in Moskau.
Über die Wahlen und den Kandidaten Putin sprach Nordwestradio-Moderator
Tom Grote mit Galina Michaleva, Politikwissenschaftlerin
und Gastwissenschaftlerin der Forschungssstelle Osteuropa
an der Uni Bremen und Exekutivsekretärin des Politischen
Komitees und Vorsitzende der Genderfraktion der liberalen
March 4 marks the date when the people
will vote in Russia: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
plans to assume the Russian Presidency for the third
time. Unlike the first two times, however, his support
is melting on this occasion. A demand for change is
building in the country. More and more people are
no longer prepared to put up with the lies, corruption,
abuses and falsification in the elections.
It is impossible to call what we are
witnessing at present free and fair elections. There
are no independent courts, while the authorities control
all national TV channels. At the same time we can
see the administrative pressure on the mass media
and the abuses of electoral commissions – the official
voting results have little in common with the actual
expression of will of the electorate.
Political competition on 4 March has
been reduced to simulation – each of the registered
“opposition” candidates to the President embodies
a specific segment of the political system created
by Putin. The only candidate, who represented a democratic
alternative to the system – Grigory Yavlinsky, who
was nominated by Yabloko – was not allowed to run
in the elections on the pretext of casuistic chicanery
over the quality of the signatures gathered in his
...He is standing; I'm seated. With
every statement, he lifts off his heels; the man looks
down on me with all his arrogance. "Judging by
your visa, the stated purpose of your visit in Russia
does not match your real activities." "What
real activities?" I dare to ask in return.
He fires back, "You are meeting
with members of the opposition."
Flummoxed, I'm left speechless for
a moment. But I realize he isn’t kidding. Never in
10 years of reporting in post-Soviet Russia — including
during the eight years I spent living here and covering
the war in Chechnya — have the authorities faulted
me for something with such grave consequences. The
official says that I’ll have to pay a fine, to be
determined by the colonel. My visa will be canceled
immediately, and I’ll be given a transit document
requiring that I leave the country within three days.
Not once is the word "journalist" uttered...
...Ivan Bolchakov, membre du conseil
fédéral et président de la commission jeunesse au
sein de Iabloko, étoile montante du Parti, revient
sur les leçons à tirer des manifestations et de cette
invalidation à l'approche de l'élection présidentielle
du 4 mars.
Rue89 : Début février, des manifestations ont réuni
entre 100 000 et 120 000 personnes à Moscou. Qui sont
les manifestants ? Quelles sont leurs exigences ?
Ivan Bolchakov : Jusqu'à récemment,
ne participaient à la plupart des manifestations que
des activistes politiques. Parfois, des groupes de
citoyens insatisfaits de la violation de leurs droits
– non-paiement des retraites, destruction de parcs
[comme la défense de la forêt de Khimki, dans la banlieue
de Moscou, face à un projet autoroutier, ndlr], construction
illégale de nouveaux quartiers – les rejoignaient...
Das vorliegende Arbeitspapier untersucht
die Entwicklung des Bürgerengagements während der
Amtsperioden von Präsident Putin und in der ersten
Hälfte der Amtszeit von Präsident Medwedew.
Während unter Putin von nachlassendem Engagement und
einer Entpolitisierung der Forderungen
der Bürger gesprochen werden kann, ist seit dem Amtsantritt
von Medwedew die Anzahl der Aktionen
gewachsen und das politische Niveau gestiegen. Dies
wurde besonders im Jahr 2010 sichtbar, als die
politischen Führungen von der zentralen bis hinunter
zur lokalen Ebene gezwungen waren, auf lang
anhaltende breite Bürgerproteste zu reagieren...
We are publishing an
article by Grigory Yavlinsky which he wrote not in
the haste of the election campaign he was not allowed
to participate, but almost a year ago.* We consider
it a programme article that is why we are publishing
it under the rubrics where we publish articles of
Live Journal, February 14, 2012.
The authorities wish to turn [oppositional]
Echo Moskvi [radio station] into an echo of the [pro-governmental]
Channel One. Replacements in the Board of Directors
of this radio station is a step in this direction.
It is a direct state pressure on the media, and not
only on Echo Moskvi. This is a warning demonstrating
to the Russian citizens what will happen after presidential
This step is made now because the
situation in the country and in the society has been
changing. It is not surprising that the reaction [of
the authorities] is reprisals. The authorities simply
have not had any other experience. And we should be
ready to such a reaction.
But the key thing in this situation
is that the movement that has begun in the society
can not be halted by either reprisals or bribing habitual
for the authorities...
Prominent French journalist and author
Anne Nivat said Russian immigration authorities forced
her to leave the country where she was working on
a book on the current political situation...
Ms. Nivat said she traveled to Russian
provincial towns where she was meeting, among others,
with members of the opposition. She traveled outside
Vladimir to meet with a local official from the Yabloko
She said ten minutes after her return
to a hotel in Vladimir Friday, the immigration officers
showed up at her hotel and took her to their station.
“They canceled my one-year multi-entry business visa
and gave me a transit visa, according to which I had
three days to leave Russia,” she said.
Ms. Nivat said that the officers made
clear to her that she had been followed for days—they
mentioned her meetings with members of the Communist
Party and Yabloko in Petrozavodsk, another provincial
town in Russia’s north...
Speaking at a massive opposition
rally in Moscow on behalf of Yabloko (LI full-member)
Grigory Yavlinsky (LI Prize for Freedom laureate)
said "They wish to oust us all from elections.
This won't go! This is our right and we are defending
the future of our country." His statement comes
days after the National Electoral Commission refused
Yavlinsky's registration in the upcoming Presidential
elections declaring 20% of the collected signatures
as allegedly "invalid." Yavlinsky reassured
his supporters that the party is going to stay strong
and it will continue to fight for a political reform
in the country so that moral and ethics are the main
force and so that there is no censorship in the mass
media. He also stressed that "life does no end
on March 4 [the voting day of presidential elections]
or March 5. This is only the beginning." The
nomination of Yavlinsky had been officially endorsed
by Gorbachev while over 2,000 000 Russian citizens
gave their signatures in support of Yavlinsky's candidature
hoping to have a political alternative.
...The fact that we demonstrated this
nonsense to everyone in Russia was also part of our
Once again I would like to thank all of you who participated
in the collection of signatures, who helped to collect
them and who signed up. Your political position can
not be "cancelled", and eventually it is
the most important achievement of this campaign for
collection of voters’ signatures...
On Saturday, around 120.000 people
marched through Moscow and participated in the Rally
for fair elections. Supporters of ELDR member YABLOKO
held a huge banner “We demand new elections!”
Yabloko founder Grigory Yavlinsky
stated: “They wish to oust us all from elections.
This won’t go! Together we are defending the future
of the country, the Constitution, freedom, life according
to the rule of law rather than arbitrary rule. It
is important for us and we will never surrender!”
Last week in the European Parliament,
ELDR President Sir Graham Watson MEP commented on
the decision of the Russian central electoral commission
to block Yavlinsky from running as a candidate in
the 4 March elections: “It seems to me that this is
a politically motivated move.”
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,
February 4, 2012.
Except from Russian transcript by
14.25. Eugenia Chirikova [ecologist
and head of the Movement in Defence of Khimki Forest]
proposes to vote for a resolution in support of candidacy
of Grigory Yavlinsky on the post of Russian President.
“We demand that the decision of the Central Electoral
Commission to refuse Grigory Yavlinsky registration
in the presidential election campaign should be revoked.”
“We demand to immediately register Grigory Yavlinsky
candidate on the post of President of Russia.” The
rally supports this resolution with a roar of approval.
14.20. The rally greets YABLOKO founder
Grigory Yavlinsky with applause. Yavlinsky thanks
all for support. “They wish to oust us from elections…
This won’t go. We feel a friends’ shoulder. We are
different, but we all have three colours in common
– the colours of the Russian flag. We defend the future
of the country and the Constitution – we defend them
by lawful means… Now the most important thing I would
like to tell you is that life does no end on March
5 [the day after presidential elections in Russia].
This is only the beginning – for us and it is an end
for them… We will prove that politics can be moral…
For freedom and justice! For our Russia!”
Grigory Yavlinsky's Live Journal,
January 29, 2012
...Let us make a simple calculation:
the share of detected defective (void) signatures
that were not included into this category (Code 29)
amounted to 16,446 (2.74% of the number of verified
signatures totaling 600,000). The rest was 137,492
(22.91%): "Other violations of procedural formalities
in filing signature sheets, including signatures of
voters whose data were included into signature sheets
not in handwriting (electronic photographs certified
by authorized representatives).” This means that the
main fault found in the signatures by the Central
Electoral Commission lying behind their refusal in
my registration referred NOT TO THE SIGNATURES, BUT
TO “OTHER VIOLATIONS OF PROCEDURAL FORMALITIES IN
FILING OF SIGNATURE SHEETS, including signatures of
those voters whose data were included into signature
sheets not in handwriting (electronic photographs
certified by authorized representatives)...
Days after Yavlinsky's
candidature was endorsed by Gorbachev, the National
Electoral Commission (NEC) declared 20% of the signatures
collected in support of the leader of Yabloko (LI
full member) invalid. Commenting on the incident at
a news Conference Yavlinsky said: 'I consider the
decision of the NEC as politically motivated. They
aren't letting me join the race, because they don't
want to allow an alternative - political, economic
and moral.' He also cautioned that such refusal to
allow him to join the race would undermine the vote's
legitimacy and could lead to unrest and instability
in the country. Grigory Yavlinsky needed to collect
and submit at least 2,000,000 votes in order to register
since he was nominated by a non-parliamentary party.
ALDE-PACE (LI Cooperating Organisation) issued
a statement condemning the situation as 'another
sign of the limitation of political competition and
expression in the country.' The group also expressed
concern that the latest developments in Russia severely
compromise the possibility for free and fair presidential
elections on 4 March 2012.
Grigory Yavlinsky, former leader of
ELDR member party, YABLOKO, has been officially barred
from running in the upcoming Russian presidential
election. The Central Electoral Commission announced
yesterday that Yavlinsky's candidature is invalid
as a result of perceived technical irregularities
in the way the signatures of support, a requirement
for participation in the election, were presented
to the Commission.
Commenting on the refusal to accept
Yavlinsky's registration for the 4 March election,
ELDR Party President, Sir Graham Watson MEP stated,
"this is clearly a politically motivated move
designed to ensure Vladimir Putin has an easy ride
back into the presidency and shows a blatant disregard
of democratic principles and international standards
for free and fair elections.
It seems that Putin and his cronies have learnt nothing
from the protests that have been taking place since
last December's parliamentary elections. This is very
worrying and undermines the authority and legitimacy
of the future Russian president."
Grigory Yavlinsky said that the position taken by
the Electoral Commission denies thousands of people
the opportunity to express their views freely. "Their
refusal means that all the people who do not agree
with what has been happening in Russia, the people
who want a different perspective - an open, democratic,
European and modern perspective - will not be allowed
to participate in the elections by means of this political
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats
for Europe (ALDE) of the Parliamentary Assembly of
the Council of Europe unanimously condemns the latest
developments in Russia which severely compromise the
possibility for free and fair presidential elections
on 4 March 2012...
Reacting to news that Grigory Yavlinsky,
from the Russian Democratic Party "Yabloko"
is unlikely to be allowed to register as a candidate
for the Presidency, Guy Verhofstadt, President of
the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
(ALDE) made the following statement:
"By refusing to register Grigory Yavlinsky for
the presidential election the Kremlin removes any
glimmer of hope for an alternative vision for Russia.
The Presidential elections to be held on 4 March 2012
will be another step backwards for democracy in Russia."
"Russian people have demonstrated their disdain
for the current regime and are demanding change. New
State Duma elections should be held after registration
of all opposition political parties. The European
Union should reassess EU policy on Russia with the
prospect of Putin clinging to power until 2024."
"The President in waiting would be well advised
to heed to people's demands.
Mr. Putin, be aware Spring is coming."
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,
October 12, 2011.
I caught up with Yabloko founder Grigory
Yavlinsky, who was in Prague this week to participate
in the Forum 2000 conference, for a brief on-the-record
We discussed a range of issues including
Vladimir Putin's decision to return to the presidency,
the possibility of change in Russia today, and how
his strategy of working within the system differs
from Boris Nemtsov and other members of the so-called
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,
September 21, 2011.
Yabloko founder Grigory Yavlinsky,
who stepped down as party chairman in 2008 and pretty
much disappeared from public life ever since, made
a high-profile return to the political stage this
He will lead Yabloko's party list
in the December 4 Duma elections. He has been getting
a surprising amount of media oxygen lately. And with
two Kremlin-friendly projects, the pro-business Right
Cause and the ostensibly center-left A Just Russia,
on the skids, there might just be an opening for him
to lead his party into the Duma.
"Indisputably there is one beneficiary
that will gain from the [Right Cause] scandal. It
is the Yabloko party, the constituency of which may
be joined by part of the Right Cause consistency,"
political analyst Dmitry Orlov told Interfax. "My
forecast is that the scandal will result in a certain
increase in voter support for Yabloko party which
in the future may come very close to clearing the
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,
January 23, 2012.
Russian opposition Yabloko party founder
Grigory Yavlinsky could be denied registration as
a presidential candidate by Russia’s Central Election
"This issue is of a political
nature, absolutely, and the purpose of [denying registration]
is to bar from elections all those people who are
discontent with what is happening in Russia today
and who would like a different future for Russia --
an open, democratic, European, modern future,"
He added that Yabloko plans to register
hundreds or even thousands of observers for the election
and that is also a reason the Kremlin might refuse
to register him.
"This decision is strictly political
and it has nothing to do with the signatures or their
quality," he said.
The nomination of Yabloko's (LI full-member)
Presidential Candidate, Grigory Yavlinsky, has been
officially endorsed by former Soviet president and
leader of Perestroyka, Mikhail Gorbachev. It follows
the disputed Russian Duma elections in December 2011.
According to the Russian law, since Yavlinsky has
been nominated by a non-parliamentary party, he needs
to collect and submit at least 2 million signatures
to the Central Electoral Commission in order to run
in the upcoming Presidential elections. The latest
party's press release indicates that the leader of
Yabloko has managed to collect signatures from all
Russian regions, as well as from Russian citizens
working and living abroad. This equates to around
2, 132, 000 votes in just 25 days. Yavlinsky commented
saying “collecting 2 million signatures is not just
a technical procedure. It means that 2 million people
have vowed to support the political alternative that
we represent.” A day after Yavlinsky was nominated
as a candidate for the presidential elections,
LI President Hans van Baalen MEP made a telephone
call to Mr. Yavlinsky expressing LI's full support.
Grigory Yavlinsky’s Live Journal,
January 11, 2012
I am offering you this article without
any changes. Today my understanding of the essence
of our sociopolitical crisis and programme for its
overcoming are virtually the same. These ideas result
from long work and much reflection. This is a search
for an alternative…
LIES AND LEGITIMACY
People take flight
The Russian political regime today,
which emerged after 1991 and was formed over the past
decade, has still not created a modern state.
As a result, we are witnessing today
an unremitting chasm that is deepening and is being
transformed into an insurmountable rift between the
authorities and the people, the state and society.
This is not a temporary credibility
gap, but rather a systematic problem. The high ratings
of the country’s leader do not attest to public support
for the powers that be. The vast difference in the
public trust shown in these individuals and all other
state institutions attests to the ultimate instability
and fragility of the entire Russian state construct...
On January 3, we asked our web-site
visitors: "If the presidential election were
held today, whom would you vote for?" And offered
to vote for one of the presidential candidates: Vladimir
Zhirinovsky's LDPR Chairman, Gennady Zyuganov, the
Communist party (CPRF) leader, Dmitry Mezentsev, Governor
of the Irkutsk, Sergei Mironov, leader of the Just
Russia party, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin and YABLOKO leader Grigory
Yavlinsky. The poll ended today.
The results were quite expected. Dmitry
Mezentsev failed to score even one per cent, also
visitors of the Novaya Gazeta web-site did not vest
any hopes into the leaders of the parliamentary opposition.
The number of votes given in favour of Vladimir Putin
(whom the web-site visitors probably voted for asking
themselves "Who else?") is also small. Businessman
Mikhail Prokhorov has a somewhat higher percentage,
and more than half of all the votes by the readers
of Novaya Gazeta went to Grigory Yavlinsky. So there
[seems to be] no second round...