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YABLOKO leader proposed a strategy for the opposition at the rally in Bolotnaya Square, Moscow

Press Release, May 6, 2013

Speaking at a mass rally in Bolotnaya Square, Moscow, YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin urged democratically minded people to go to polling stations and make the elections honest, rather than ask the authorities for fair and honest elections.

"There is nothing to discuss with these authorities, they resist a dialogue, it is absolutely hopeless to ask something from the authorities, to demand something from them, it is even pointless to scold or criticize them. The only thing that makes sense is to change the government. It's time to change the power and take it into our hands," said Sergei Mitrokhin...

...According to Mitrokhin, a single from the opposition in the gubernatorial elections in the Moscow Region should be Gennady Gudkov [ousted from the Duma and the Just Russia party for his oppositional views].

Mitrokhin also said that a single list of candidates from the opposition should be nominated for the Moscow City Duma elections as well...

St.Petersburg branch of YABLOKO at a democratic manifestation and a rally of May 6

Press Release, May 6, 2013

A traditional May Day Democratic Manifestation was held along Nevsky Prospekt and ended with a rally at Konnyushennaya Square. This year the main slogan of the manifestation was "For Russia Free from Political Reprisals and Religious Obscurantism!"

The democratic manifestation was prepared and conducted by an organizational committee formed on the basis of the Democratic Petersburg coalition. According to different estimates, the number of participants of the manifestation amounted to 1.5 - 2 thousand people.

The rally meeting at at Konnyushennaya Square was opened by Alexander Kobrinsky, deputy of the Legislative Assembly from the YABLOKO party.

Sergei Mitrokhin called Muscovites to change the Moscow government

Press Release, March 2, 2013

YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin called the participants of the Social Manifestation to "change the authorities at the next elections to the Moscow City Duma," rather than ask the Mayor of Moscow team for some "handouts". "We offer the entire civil society to unite for the Moscow City Duma elections and agree to provide our party candidates list for this purpose, and we give half of the list for civil society activists," Mitrokhin said at a rally on Sakharov Square...

Mitrokhin also said that the policies of the Moscow authorities was "authoritarian and incompetent in many areas, but extremely self-confident and based on the most profound contempt for the Muscovites". "The Sobyanin’s team acts as if they came to some kindergarten rather than Moscow. They know what is better for us, and we should wait with our mouths open when they bring happiness to us," Mitrokhin said...

Proved: it is a lie!

Press Release, February 25, 2013

The Democratic Petersburg coalition YABLOKO is member of conducted a raid proving that St.Petersburg authorities did not allow the Democratic Petersburg to conduct rallies in the city on fictitious grounds. The city authorities turned down 20 sites as possible grounds for the coalition rally. "We have collected evidence of the officials’ lies and will file a law suit against them," said the coalition members.

This Sunday, the coalition planned to hold a rally against the federal law on the "gay propaganda". The application was submitted to the authorities four times proposing 20 different locations. However, all the applications were turned down. The organizers were ready to hold a rally at any time from 12:00 to 18:00, but the officials said that all proposed sites were taken by other activities at that time or some renovation works or repairs were conducted there. Each time the rally fell under some ban...

YABLOKO picketed the State Duma against two anti-constitutional bills

Press Release, January 23, 2013.

YABLOKO activists held one-person pickets in front of the State Duma, as the Duma had to consider two unconstitutional projects: one of them had to simplify the procedure of requisition of land title from the residents of the "new Moscow territories" (ex Moscow Region territories) like was the case in the Olympic Sochi, and the other would allow regions to replace election of governors by their appointment...

Grigory Yavlinsky: "Deputies of St.Petersburg Legislative Assembly were right in refusing to consider the bill on rallies”

Press Release, January 16, 2013.

According to Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the YABLOKO faction, adoption of the draft law on rallies with the restrictions it envisaged could lead only to a sharp increase in the number of unauthorized actions and, consequently, increase of tension in St. Petersburg.

"It will not restoration of order, but violation of order," said Grigory Yavlinsky.

According to the BaltInfo agency, this morning, the Governor's bill lacked only one vote so that to be included into the agenda of the Legislative Assembly. MPs from YABLOKO, the Communist Party and Just Russia voted against it".

The bill proposed a ban on rallies, meetings and other events on Nevsky Prospekt, the St. Isaac's and the Palace Squares, and also contained many other prohibitions and restrictions...

A Russian Deja-Vu. The Political Development and the Objectives of the YABLOKO party

Sergei Mitorkhin's 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...

Sergei Mitrokhin made a speech in the Houses of Parliament in London

Press Release, November 12, 2012.

In his speech in the Houses of Parliament in London YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin stated that policies of the Russian government towards an anti-European way of development had been changing the situation in the country. In his speech Mitrokhin touched upon such topics as political reprisals, toughening of the laws, clericalisation of the state and the problems of the opposition.

“A conflict with the West has become more apparent and moreover demonstrative. Cultivation of xenophobia and hostility to the outside world allows the regime to feel more confident when rejecting accusations of election fraud, destruction of an independent judiciary, and so on,” Mitrokhin stressed.

Sergei Mitrokhin’s briefing was held on the initiative of Lord John Alderdice. The meeting was hosted Simon Hughes MP, Deputy Leader of LibDems, and Lord Alderdice, immediate past LI President. British MPs from the Liberal Democratic Party and their supporters and students from the London School of Economics and other British Universities participated in the meeting...

Sergei Mitrokhin fined for talking to bloggers and journalists

Press Release, September 7, 2012.

Olga Zatomskaya, Judge of a Moscow court of the first instance, imposed a RUR 2,000 fine of YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin for his talking to journalists and bloggers during the protest action of June 6. The court's decision bases on a false testimony of witnesses and police. The party intends to appeal against this decision...

Organisational Committee "Democratic Petersburg" applies for the "March of Millions"

Press Service of St. Petersburg YABLOKO, August 31, 2012.

On August 31, on the first day of submitting an application in accordance with the law, the Organisational Committee "Democratic Petersburg" applied for conducting of the "March of Millions" on September 15. The public action will consist of a demonstration (a march) and a rally. The march will begin at 1 p.m., a rally will be held at 2 p.m. The exact route of the procession and a place for the rally will be announced later after obtaining an approval from the city administration.

The demands and slogans of the "March of Millions" in St. Petersburg will be as follows: change of the present political regime, fair elections, protection of human rights, provision of real social equality and protection of historical part of the city. The organizers expect that the number of participants in the march will amount to about five thousand people.

The Organisational Committee "Democratic Petersburg" was created on August 28 and comprises representatives from political parties, social, human rights and political organisations, YABLOKO, the Republican Party of Russia – PARNAS, the Christian Democrats, the Libertarian Party, the Russian Socialist Movement, the People's Labour Union of Russian Solidarists, the Russian Social Democratic Union of the Youth, Student Action, Vikhod (Exit), the LGBT Initiative, the Women Voters League, Youth Human Rights Group and the Alliance of Heterosexuals for the Equality for LGBT...

YABLOKO demands from the Interior Ministry to disclose the criteria behind awarding gratuitous flats to the policemen participating in dispersing of a rally at Bolotnaya Square, Moscow, on May 6

Press Release, July 27, 2012.

YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin sent an appeal to the Moscow police chief Anatoly Yakunin asking disclose the criteria behind awarding gratuitous flats to the policemen participating in dispersing of a rally at Bolotnaya Square, Moscow, on May 6...

YABLOKO sent the inquiry to the Moscow Government as early as on May 25. The answer received from the officials ran that the city annually allocated housing to the Interior Ministry, however, distribution of the flats was carried out by the ministry...

Was Russen auf die Straße treibt

Weser Kurier, 27.07.2012.

Von Solveig Rixmann

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...

To release all the detained protestors of the demonstration of May 6!
Statement by YABLOKO Chairman
, July 26, 2012.

Today Russia’s Investigative Committee has detained two more protestors of May 6, including Nikolai Kavkazsky, ex YABLOKO activist, member of Committee for Human Rights.

The number of persons made liable and the ways in which the Investigative Committee acts towards the suspects in violation of the laws during the opposition march on May 6, clearly demonstrate that the authorities have been returning to the Stalinist practices of intimidation and reprisals against active citizens...

Grigory Yavlinsky led YABLOKO’s column at the March of the Millions

Press Release, June 12, 2012.

YABLOKO's activists and supporters participated in demonstration of the opposition in Moscow. Party members formed a column under the banner "We demand new elections!". The column was led by party leaders Grigory Yavlinsky, Valery Borshchyov, Anatoly Golov, Yugeny Bunimovich, Galina Mikhalyova, leader of the Youth Yabloko Kirill Goncharov and other.

"We participate in today's demonstration because millions of people do not agree with the policies pursued by Vladimir Putin, as well as lawlessness [in the country]. We received a mandate from our voters - and only according to the official data, there are over two million of such people – for a continuous political struggle for a different system: for fair elections, an independent judiciary, equality before the law and the inviolability of property rights," Grigory Yavlinsky said to journalists...

Mass demonstrations in Moscow are first shoots of a Russian political Spring
Press Release, ALDE, June 12, 2012

In reaction to the protests in Russia today which saw one hundred thousand people take to the streets to demand reforms, Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Leader says the Russian authorities should take immediate concrete steps to implement reform...

Kristiina Ojuland, ALDE Spokesperson on Russia said: "The recent decision by the State Duma to drastically increase persecution of peaceful protesters is not in line with European standards and international practice as authorities claim. There is nothing democratic about the 200 fold increase in fines for those willing to express their views freely and peacefully. This boils down to yet another effort by the authorities to tighten their grip on power and suppress further fundamental rights of Russian citizens."

Mitrokhin about searches in the homes of Russian opposition figures: the country has moved to an open dictatorship regime

Press Release, June 11, 2012.

Based on Echo Moskvi reports

YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin commenting to the Echo Moskvi radio station the searches in the homes of Alexei Navalny and other opposition activists noted that police reprisals also affected YABLOKO’s activists:

"Our activists are affected, in particular, such psychological pressure was used against Kirilll Gontcharov, leader of the Moscow branch of Youth YABLOKO, as police tried to get into his home yesterday. Now he has to hide. Our activists also suffer from this impudent police pressure, which is not connected to any violations and is not based on law.

I believe that after the adoption of amendments to the law on rallies the country transferred to an open dictatorship regime. Putin ceased imitating democracy, he abandoned all his masks. Searches and other police actions are the links of the same chain."

YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin to visit Omsk

Press Release, June 9, 2012.
...On June 11, Mitrokhin will participate in the conference of the regional branch of YABLOKO.

On June 12, he will meet students, political scientists and other citizens in the conference hall of hotel Tourist at 11:30. The topic of the meeting is "Omsk on the threashold of mayoral elections". Address: Str. Broz Tito, 2.

Then YABLOKO leader will join the rally in support of Moscow's March of the Millions.

A public inspection on problematic sites of the city will take place at 15:13: Ptichya Gavan (Birds’ Harbour) – Zyelyoniy Ostrov (Green Island) - Metro – Silicon plant.

On June 13 (at 15:00) Sergei Mitrokhin, Alexander Korotkov, YABLOKO's candidate for mayor of Omsk, and Tatiana Ovcharenko, renowned expert in the field of protection of citiznes' rights in the housing and utilities sector, will participate in the press conference "Challenges before Omsk on the Threashold of the Mayoral Elections". The press conference will take place in the press center of the Komsomolskaya Pravda paper.

YABLOKO to protest against the new law on rallies at the March of the Millions

Press Release, June 9, 2012.

The YABLOKO party will participate in the March of the Millions on June 12 where it will protest against signing by President Putin of the new law on rallies virtually putting a ban on street actions.

YABLOKO activists will form a column under the slogan "The law on rallies is a way to a fascist state". All YABLOKO's previous protest actions were conducted under this slogan when the draft law was examined by the State Duma and the Federation Council. Then YABLOKO protested at all the stages of the legislative process - by the Duma, the Federation Council and the Kremlin.

YABLOKO activists will bring banners illustrating the reprisals prone nature of the law: picturing Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Heinrich Himmler, Felix Dzerzhinsky, Lavrenty Beria and Vladimir Putin with a subscription "Fascists are for it! KGB people are for it!"...

Spokesperson of HR/VP Catherine Ashton on Russia's new law on rallies
June 8, 2012.

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 State Duma.

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.

Mitrokhin: signing by President Putin of the law on rallies represents an actual ban on street actions

Interfax, June 8, 2012.

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 night.

He also noted that YABLOKO will not hold street actions against the law in the nearest time.

"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 politician added.

Yabloko Leader Gets Arrested in a Peaceful Walking Protest
LI News Bulletin, Issue 286, June 8, 2012

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.

Official Russian human rights bodies condemn the new law on rallies

Based on Interfax reports, June 7, 2012.

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 sometimes repressive"...

Picketing against toughening of the law on rallies took place in Novosibirsk

Press Service by the Novosibirsk branch of YABLOKO, June 7, 2012.
The Novosibirsk regional branch of YABLOKO oraganised a one-person picket (which does not require prior notification or obtaining a permission from the authorities) against toughening of the law on rallies stipulating sharp raising of fines for violations at rallies and demonstrations.
About ten activists participated in picketing changing each other in turn for several hours in the centre of the city.

Police stopped the procession to the monument to Pushkin because of the T-shirts with protest slogans

Press Release, June 6, 2012.

YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin and 12 activists of a protest action by the walls of the Kremlin were arrested only because they refused to obey the police order to take off their T-shirts. For 40 minutes of YABLOKO’s and other civil society activists were walking in Manezhnaya Square in white T-shirts with inscriptions "The law on rallies is the way to a fascist state". And only when Sergei Mitrokhin proposed to walk along Tverskaya Street to the monument to famous Russian poet Pushkin, the police asked the activists to take off the T-shirts and on hearing refuses the police began detentions...

Arrests of protesters have begun at Manaezhnaya Square, Moscow

Press Release, June 6, 2012.

Arrests of protesters have begun at Manaezhnaya Square in the centre Moscow. YABLOKO activists planned to begin a protest action in the Alexander Gardens by the Kremlin wall, however, it was “suddenly” closed an hour before the action. Therefore it was decided to protest at the Manegnaya Square nearby.

All the activists wearing T-shirts with the slogan of the action “The Law “On Rallies” is a way to a fascist state.”

Sergei Mitrokhin and 11 activists (four girls among them) were taken by police to the patrol wagons...

Activists protesting against the law on rallies arrested in Volgograd

Press Service by the Volgograd branch of YABLOKO, June 6, 2012.

People gathered by the President’s reception office in Volgograd at 2 p.m. today. The participants of the gathering were protesting against the adoption of the law on rallies and were trying to get into Vladimir Putin’s reception office so that to hand in a petition proposing that the President should veto the bill passed by the State Duma yesterday. The police arrested six people: Nikolai Belikov, Sergey Mazanov, Boris Stikhin, Artyom Panenko, Yulia Vlasenko and Leonid Makhinya. Some of them were YABLOKO members other represented public movement "For Fair Elections" and independent media...

Pickets against the law raising fines for rallies has taken place by the Federation Council

Press Release, Photos, Video. June 6, 2012.

According to YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin, the amendments into the law on rallies and the Administrative Offences Code adopted yesterday by the State Duma and proved by the upper chamber of the parliament – the Federation Council – today are installing dictatorship in the country. Mitrokhin has made such a statement today by the Federation Council. Today YABLOKO has conducted a series of one-person pickets (that do not require a permission from the authorities) against the adoption of the such amendments.
Activists of the Youth YABLOKO, Sergei Sokolov, municipal deputy from the YABLOKO party, and Sergei Mitrokhin stood in turn by the main entrance to the Federation Council with a placard “The law on rallies is a way towards a fascist state!” The placard also pictured portraits of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Heinrich Himmler, Felix Dzerzhinsky, Lavrenty Beria and Vladimir Putin approving the new law. “Fascists are for it! KGB people are for it!” ran the placard...

Restrictions on freedom of assembly in Russia upset European liberals
ALDE-PACE, Statement, June 6, 2012

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.

Russian law to increase fines on demonstrators should be dropped, say PACE co-rapporteurs
PACE, Statement, June 6, 2012

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.

Russian United Democratic Party leader Sergey Mitrokhin arrested as "a hooligan".

EU Reporter, June 5, 2012. Video.

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"...

See the article at the EU Reporter web-site.

Liberals condemn heavy-handed police intervention against peaceful protesters in Russia
ELDR Press Release, June 5, 2012.

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 Rights Watch.

Russian crackdown on civilian protesters is a slap in the face for EU
Press Release, ALDE, June 5, 2012

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.

YABLOKO to continue protesting against adoption of the law raising penalties on rallies by the Federation Council and in Alexander Gardens by the Kremlin

Press Release, June 5, 2012.

The YABLOKO party will continue protesting against adoption of the law raising penalties on rallies by the Federation Council and in the Alexander Gardens by the Kremlin. Two actions will be held in Moscow tomorrow. At 11:00 activists of the Youth YABLOKO will hold a series of pickets by the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, which has to give its approval to the law. At 19:00 YABLOKO invites all the people to come to Alexander Gardens by the Kremlin wall so that to appeal to President Putin.

It is expected that tomorrow, on June 6, the Federation Council will consider amendments to the law on rallies and the Administrative Code, which have been adopted by the State Duma in the second and third reading today. At 11 a.m. Youth YABLOKO activists will come to the Federation Council so that to remind the senators: toughening of penalties for rallies is a way towards a fascist state. The activists will hold placards with portraits of dictators and torturers who would have supported the draft law initiated by the ruling United Russia party: fascists Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Heinrich Himmler, as well as KGB people Felix Dzerzhinsky, Lavrenty Beria and Vladimir Putin.

As there are not doubts that the Federation Council will, as usual, support the reactionary amendments, YABLOKO calls all the people to Alexander Gardens at 19:00 so that to appeal to President Vladimir Putin.

The action in the Alexander Gardens will take place without any political symbols and placards, so yet it does not require approvals from the authorities...

YABLOKO leader and 17 activists arrested by the State Duma

Press Release, June 5, 2012.

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...

...This YABLOKO’s action was supported by the Moscow branch of Solidarnost and number of other organisations. Earlier Sergei Mitrokhin had called the organizers and the participants of mass-scale protest actions to come to the State Duma on the day of hearing of the law and offer rebuff to such initiatives by the ruling party...

Russia: Reject Restrictions on Peaceful Assembly. Duma to Consider Big Fines for Public Gatherings

Human Rights Watch, June 4, 2012.

...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)...

Let us protect Article 31 on the freedom of assembly of the Constitution on June 5!

Open letter by YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin to organisers and participants of street protests, May 31, 2012

To organisers and participants of street protests
at Bolotnaya, Sakharov and Pushkin Squares, Chistiye Prudi, Novy Arbat, the participants of the movements “Strategy 31”, “The White Ribbon”, “March of the Millions” and other protest actions: Boris Akunin, Dmitry Bykov, Genadi Gudkov, Dmitry Gudkov,
Eduard Limonov, Alexei Navalny, Sergei Parkhomenko, Vladimir Ryzhkov,
Lev Ponomarev, Sergei Udaltsov, Yugenia Chirikova and others

Today, on May 31, the day when actions in protection of Article 31 of the Constitution guaranteeing RF citizens the right to assemble peacefully, without weapons, hold rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets are normally held [in Russia].

On this day, I am turning to you calling you to pay very close attention to the amendments prepared by the State Duma to the Administrative Offences Code and Federal Law No 54 "On Assemblies, Rallies, Demonstrations, Processions and Pickets". These amendments are prohibitive and maximally limit the constitutional right of citizens to protests.

Not only do they set high penalties [for the rallies], but also make any form of street activity impossible and broaden the possibilities for abuse by the police providing grounds for absurd accusations...

Organiser of an action against raising of penalties for rallies to stand trial
Press Release, May 27, 2012.

Pyotr Ivanchikov, YABLOKO’s activist and organiser of an action against raising of penalties for rallies, will to stand trial for oragnisation of an action. After his detention he was held for in a local police department for four hours (instead of the maximum three hours allowed by law). He is incriminated “violation of the established order of oragnisation of a rally” (Article 20.2 of the Administrative Offences Code).

Ivanchikov is accused that the topic of the rally differed with the topic agreed upon with the authorities. YABLOKO had applied for a permission to conduct a rally stating the topic of urgent elections of the Moscow Mayor, however, in light of the events of raising penalties for rallies by the parliament, YABLOKO changed the topic (such a change is not prohibited by the law)...

YABLOKO’s action: toughening of penalties for rallies is a straight way towards a totalitarian state
Press Release, May 27, 2012.

A theatrical action against toughening of penalties for violations at the rallies took place in Novopushkinsky Garden on May 27. Potential "violators" were implementing compulsory community services under the sounds of military marches of Hitler's Germany without waiting for the final adoption of the draft law toughening the penalties by the ruling United Russia faction. Half an hour after the start of the action, its organiser Pyotr Ivanchikov was detained by police for alleged non-conformity of the declared topic of the rally with the actual one. "Muscovites complain about the Nazi marches," a police lieutenant told the journalists.

While the protesters were filling Novopushkinsky Garden, YABLOKO activists wearing prisoners' hats broomed the pavement under the sounds of military marches from Hitler's Germany.

"We want to show that the State Duma is going to adopt a law natural in a totalitarian state," said YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin opening the meeting. “Under the clamour of possible reduction of fines from 1.5 million roubles to 300,000 roubles, the State Duma adopted a resolution listing these monstrous amendments,” he noted.

Participants of the action demonstrated disproportionate punishment for “violations” that would be introduced by the new law. They could have been convicted to compulsory community services only for wearing the Guy Fawkes masks. In addition, each of them wore a plaque innumerating other "aggravating circumstances", such as "walking across Moscow", "trampling the grass," and "wearing a white ribbon"...

A protest action against raising penalties for rallies
Press Release, May 22, 2012.

The State Duma has been examining amendments stipulating the raise of penalties for rallies up to 1.5 million roubles. The amendments constitute another crime buy the ruling Unite Russia party against the nation.

A general protest rally against the draft law will take place on Sunday. The rally has a permission from the Moscow authorities.

The government has to see that no penalties will stop us. We are not going to speak about some abstract democracy. We will say #DumaStop. We are against the amendments. And we will make them listen to us.

Novopushkinskiy Garden (Pushkinskaya metro station). Sunday, May 27 at 14:00.

Mitrokhin released without charges, other activists will stand before court
Press Release, May 22, 2012.

The police released YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin without any charge. However, other YABLOKO activists detained by the State Duma will have to stand before court "for participation in an unsanctioned picket"...

All the detainees were transported to the police department and all of them but for Sergei Mitrokhin were charged with “violation of the established order or organization of a rally”. The policemen did not set any charges against Mitrokhin referring to some order.

The activists will stand before court on May 30. Their cases will be examined by a judge notoriously famous for her tough sentences to opposition activists.

Sergei Mitrokhin and activists detained at the "walking protests" by the State Duma
Press Release, May 22, 2012.

Several YABLOKO activists were detained by police during “walking protests” conducted by YABLOKO by the State Duma this morning. The police detained YABLOKO Chairman Sergei Mitrokhin and Kirill Gontcharov, leader of the Youth Yabloko, and three other activists of the party...

...Sergei Mitrokhin called the police actions be absolute lawlessness, as the activists were detained at a legal action which did not require a special approval. " The police actions have proved once again how dangerous the adoption of the amendments [on raising fines of rallies] are to all of us," Mitrokhin said. He noted that the parliament wanted to set impossibly high fines for violations at the rallies which would deprive people of an opportunity to peacefully express their views. "This may push people to an armed rebellion," he said...

Youth YABLOKO to picket the State Duma protesting against raising of fines for rallies
Press Release, May 17, 2012.

Tomorrow on May 18, Youth YABLOKO activists will conduct a series of pickets by the State Duma against adoption of the law on toughening punishment for violations at rallies. Kirill Gontcharov, leader of the Youth YABLOKO, will participate in the action.The picket will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Tomorrow the Russian parliament will examine a draft law on the introduction of a fine amounting to RUR 1.5 mln (approximately USD 50,000) for violations at rallies. The draft law was submitted by the ruling United Russia deputies and envisages a raise of a maximum fine for the organizers and participants of mass-scale actions to RUR 1.5 mln.

On Tuesday, the Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building recommended to adopt the draft law in the first reading.

Mitrokhin visits the protesters camp at Chistiye Prudi, Moscow
Press Release, May 14, 2012.

YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin and Galina Mikhalyova, First Deputy Chair of the Moscow YABLOKO, joined YABLOKO activists who had been visiting the opposition camp at Chistiye Prudi by Abai Kunanbyev monument all these days.

Mitrokhin and Mikhalyova answered protesters' questions and even tasted food from the mobile kitchen.

"We support any peaceful protest forms that do not violate the Russian law and are not connected with provocations and adventurism," Mitrokhin said. He added that the scope of mass-scale protests and their efficiency can only grow only like this.

Mitrokhin also noted that "the government does not have any motives for violent action against the campers."

"We will be categorically against any attempts to provoke violence whoever would initiate these – either the government or the protester," he stressed.

Police Clear Chistiye Prudy Camp, Arrest 20 Protesters

The Moscow Times, May 16, 2012.

...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 article: Court 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.

Yavlinsky called on the "walking protestors" in St. Petersburg to set political goals

Interfax, May 15, 2012.

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...

Mitrokhin appeals against the decision to liquidate the opposition camp in Moscow
Press Release, May 15, 2012.

YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin appealed against the decision to liquidate the opposition camp in the garden at Chistiye Prudi boulevard, Moscow.

"I believe that this decision violates my right to free walking in the garden without time restriction and at any time," he said.

In addition, Mitrokhin noted that the decision by the Basmanny Court, Moscow, did not envisage immediate implementation, as the law stipulates that it should be implemented only after the decision comes into force, i.e. after 30 days from the date it was made...

Court dismissed a complaint on the arrest of YABLOKO’s Maria Kozhevatova
Press Release, April 4, 2012.

On April 4, The Kuibyshevsky District Court dismissed a complaint on the arrest of YABLOKO member Maria Kozhevatova arrested for ten days for her participation in the campaign in defense of the Article 31 (on the freedom of assembly) of the Russian Constitution.

During the hearings Judge Julia Trofimova questioned the witness A.Vinovkina, but did not consider her testimony, stating that "the witness was helping Kozhevatova”. Consequently, Kozhevatova will be held in prison until April 10...

An opposition march towards Ostankino television centre banned. A rally for the freedom of the media to take place by the television centre
Press Release, April 4, 2012.

The local authorities of the North-Western Administrative District of Moscow denied YABLOKO a permission to hold a march towards the Ostankino television centre on April 14. The officials proposed to the organizers to hold a rally instead. Also they limited the number of participants from 5,000 (as in YABLOKO’s application) to 200.

Initially it was planned to hold a march and a rally. The local authorities did not give any reasons for not giving a permission for the march...

Moscow Mayor prohibits rallies at Chistiye Prudi
Press Release, January 11, 2012.

Such a decision by the Moscow authority was announced to the organiser of the rally that have to take place this Saturday and introduce the so-called “Churov List” (Ed. The list includes the names of people engaged in the parliamentary elections fraud). It was planned to conduct the rally by Griboyedov Monument at Chistiye Prudi.
Earlier the bureaucrats had refused to allow a rally at this place under a pretext of paving the square...

A “chalk written slogan” action “This government must go!” was held in different Russian cities

Press Release, July 14, 2011

On July 13 activists of the Youth Yabloko in different Russian cities conducted a solidarity action with their young colleagues from Ekaterinburg and Moscow who had been detained for anti-government slogans done in chalk on the pavement...

Activists of the Chelyabinsk Youth Yabloko conducted an action by the ruling United Russia’s office. Young Yabloko activists wrote in chalk on the pavement in front of the ruling party’s office slogans "This government must go," "Go away!" and "This government does not need us"...

Young YABLOKO’s activists arrested for writing on the pavement with chalk “This government should resign!” in front of the United Russia’s office

Press Release, July 13, 2011

Today police arrested activists of the Youth YABLOKO – Kirill Gontcharov, Gleb Sitnikov and Sofia Rusova – for writing “This government should resign!” in front of the United Russia’s party office in the center of Moscow...
Today’s action by the United Russia office was conducted in solidarity with the activists of the Youth YABLOKO branch in the Sverdlovsk region – Anastasya Zheltisheva and Eugeni Mezentsev - who stood before court today for writing the same slogan during a concert organised by United Russia in Ekaterinburg...
Actions of solidarity are held today by United Russia’s offices in other cities: St.Petersburg, Penza, Chelyabinsk and Kostroma.

A mass protest rally held in Sterlitamak, Bashkiria

Press Release, July 12, 2011

On July 11, 2011, a mass protest rally in protection of human rights and demanding dismissal of the Eugeny Ulasevich, deputy head of the city administration, was held in Sterlitamak, Bashkiria, despite the ban of the local authorities. One of the organizers of the rally was Damir Garifullin, leader of the Sterlitamak branch of YABLOKO. The rally brought together about seven hundred people.

The city authorities tried to move the rally from the walls of the administration building, however, the indignant citizens stayed at by the administration. The police tried to detain Damir Garifullin, however the participants of the rally interfered and did not allow the police to detain him...

YABLOKO’s rally in Aksay conducted despite counteraction of the authorities

Press Release, July 8, 2011

YABLOKO’s rally in Aksay, the Rostov region, was conducted despite counteraction of the authorities.

Before the action the police notified the organizers of the rally about administration’s ban on the rally, the police told that all the participants would be detained. “This is completely unlawful. The Adminstration has no right to ban the rally. The authorities can only offer a different place for conducting the action,” YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin said.

Also someone threw leaflets that people are prohibited to come to the park where the rally had to due to “sanitary measures against insects and hazardous effect of this pharmaceuticals on people”. This was done in the morning on the threashold of the rally. In spite f all of this the rally gathered about 100 people...

YABLOKO’s activist beaten at the picket for dismissal of Moscow Region Governor

Press Release, May 26, 2011.

An hour ago unidentified persons attacked YABLOKO’s activists who were taking part in the picket for of Moscow Region Governor Boris Gromov. Gleb Sitnikov was severely injured. He was stroke to the ground and beaten.

Nadezhda Samsonova, head of the Klin branch of YABLOKO, told that there were ten attackers. They began beating YABLOKO’s activists, tore the placards and disappeared. Ambulance was called for injured Gleb Sitnikov. Despite of the fact the policemen were watching the picket, none of the attackers was detained...

YABLOKO’s leader detained by police at a picket by the administration of one of the Moscow districts

Press Release, April 13, 2011.

YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin was detained by police at a picket by the administration of one of the South-Eastern District of Moscow. The picketers demanded to close a cement plant in Pechatniki district. The plant is situated by the Moskva-River embankment. Local residents say the district has been growing and new blocks of flats have been built already very close to the functioning plant. “We breathe in the cement power,” they say.

In 2003 the plan of the district development envisaged a park that had to be made on the place of the plant which had to be moved to an industrial zone. However, the plant is still functioning in the residential district. YABLOKO’s activists held placards demanding to close the plant.

In 20 minutes police arrived and demanded the picketers to leave the place. Also the police carefully studied the allowance obtained for the picket from the local authorities in accordance with the law...

All the detained must be immediately released!

Statement by the Chair of the YABLOKO party, January 3, 2011

The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO condemns the actions by the authorities instigating the unjust rulings by the courts on holding Boris Nemtsov and other oppositional politicians (who participated in a permitted action on December 31) under arrest for many days. These decisions are unlawful and politically biased, and represent a disgrace to the police that fabricated the evidence as well as the courts of the first instance that went on a leash of the police.

This constitutes another attempt of ‘tightening up the screws’ in the very beginning of 2011 which demonstrates growth of panic in the Russian government resulting in political inadequacy. We demand that President Medvedev must adopt measures required for immediate release of all the detained and taking under control the Moscow police which has been discrediting the state power in the eyes of the Russian citizens and the world community...

Liberal International discussed political banditism in Russia

Press Release, November 13, 2010

YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin made a report on situation in Russia at the meeting of Liberal International Executive Committee which is taking place in Cape Town, South African Republic.

Mitrokhin began his report with bad news. He told about an attack on civil activist Konstantin Fetisov and journalist Oleg Kashin. “Such crimes become more frequent, as they go unpunished,” stressed YABLOKO’s leader.

According to Mitrokhin, “in words Russian leaders advocate the rule of law and democracy. But their deeds strikingly differ from their declarations”. “The Russian authorities are unable to ensure implementation of laws in the country. But they widely practice arbitrary use of law as an instrument for protection of their political and economic interests,” he noted.

Regional elections are falsified, which demonstrates insecurity of the ruling party’s position. “High popularity ratings of Putin and Medvedev and very low rates of public trust to the state and public institutes demonstrate instability of our political system,” Mitrokhin said...

Country report on Russia by Sergei Mitrokhin.

Executive Committee of Liberal International. Cape Town, November 13, 2010

It has become increasingly dangerous to state one’s position in Russia. For the past week civil activist Konstantin Fektistov and journalist Oleg Kashin were beaten almost to death and severely injured. Such crimes become more frequent, as they go unpunished. Murders of well-known journalist Anna Politkovskaya, lawyer Stanislav Markelov and human rights activist Natalia Estemirova are still uninvestigated.

For the past years our party YABLOKO lost several our friends and colleagues – journalists and human rights activists Larissa Yudina, Yuri Schekochikhin and Farid Babayev. These crimes are still uninvestigated. The fact that crimes against politicians, journalists and human rights activists are unpunished gives rise to new crimes.

The Russian authorities are unable to ensure implementation of laws in the country. But they widely practice arbitrary use of law as an instrument for protection of their political and economic interests...

We demand to stop unlawful detentions and toughening of sentences!
Statement by YABLOKO’s Chairman, August 26, 2010.

The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO expresses its categorical protest in connection with a court’s sentence to renowned human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov. This sentence is another example demonstrating the use of force when citizens try to realise their constitutional rights. Grave violations of the law and the use of force in detentions and fraudulent evidence in trials have become an everyday practice for the interior. The courts acting in Stalin’s style are guided by the idea that the law enforcement are always right and protesting or dissenting citizens are necessarily criminals.

YABLOKO’s activists arrested by the Russian parliament for picketing against the FSB law finally released, however, are facing a trial

Press Release, June 11, 2010.

..Major Brezhnev personally participated in detaining Grokhovsky: first he dragged Artur to the police car and then hit him in the belly. Now Anton is heading to the hospital to certify the bruises.

Grokhovsky also told that in February he had been already arrested by the same policeman for one-person picketing. Due to the video recording made by YABLOKO Grokhovsky was acquitted by the court then. Grokhovsky hopes that the court will acquit the activists this time too, as the action was also recorded...

Liberal International to discuss arbitrary actions of Moscow police in breaking YABLOKO's picket

Press Release, June 11, 2010.

YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin expressed his indignation with police breaking of YABLOKO’s one-person picket and arresting the activists protesting against the amendments to the law on the Federal Security Service (former KGB) by the Russian parliament building. No permission or coordination with authorities is required for conducting one-person pickets in accordance with the Russian law. Nevertheless the picket was brutally broken and the activists were arrested.

Mitrokhin said that actions by police officers who arrested the activist holding the placard, as well as three other activists who were standing by were a rude violation of the Constitution and the law “On assemblies, meetings, demonstrations and pickets”...

Action “Preventing Extremism” brutally broken by police

Press Release, June 11, 2010. Video, photos.

Action against introduction of amendments on the law on the Federal Security Service (the former KGB), which YABLOKO attempted to hold today by the building of the State Duma (the Russian Parliament) was brutally broken by police. Despite of the fact that it was a one-person picketing (four activists had to replace each other in turn) and did not require any permissions or notifications from the authorities, four YABLOKO’s activists were arrested and taken to the local police department and a placard depicting the head of KGB Felix Dzerzhinsky, the closest accomplice of Stalin in setting terror in the country Lavrenty Beria, and Vladimir Putin and bearing a the words "The KGB people vote FOR it!" was confiscated.

On June 11, at 9.30 am, half an hour before the plenary session the Russian parliament had to start, First Deputy Chair of the Moscow Yabloko Galina Mikhalyova took her place by the main entrance to the parliament building with a placard depicting Felix Dzerzhinsky, Lavrenty Beria and Vladimir Putin against a black ground and a hand voting for them. “The law on preventing extremism. The KGB people vote FOR it!" ran the slogan under the picture. The Russian parliament will discuss this draft law in the first reading today...

Breaking up of rallies means professional incompetence of the Russian government

Statement by the YABLOKO party. June 1, 2010

The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO consders the reaction of the authorities to the protest actions that took place in Moscow, St.Petersburg and other Russian cities yesterday be unacceptable and absurd.

A deliberately tough use of obviously superior police forces against the groups of citizens who simply expressed their opinion without endangering anyone’s security represents a proof of inability of state officials, top officials inclusive, to adequately assess the situation in the country...

YABLOKO’s activists leave the court protesting against collusion of the judge with OMON

Press Release. February 23, 2010

The arrested activists – YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin, General Major Anton Goretsky and Artur Grokhovsky, aid of YABLOKO’s leader, spent over an hour in the district court waiting for hearings on their case. After an hour expired they went to the courtroom to find out when the hearings were to take place. However, they saw a judge discussing something with the OMON policemen who were witnesses on the case. According to Grokhovsky, several policemen were standing by the judge’s table and one of them was even sitting on the table. However, the judge demanded to close the door and not to interfere into the discussion.
YABLOKO’s activists left the court in protest against collusion of the judge and the police, despite resistance of the policemen who brought them to the court. “I think that what has happened is a manifestation of an arbitrary rule and also a humiliation to General Goretsky who on the Day of the Defender of the Fatherland was kept in the police station for three hours and then kept in court,” Mitrokhin said. “The judge not only behaved incorrectly towards us, but even tried to make a collusion with the witnesses who were actually a party in the case,” he noted.

YABLOKO’s leader and General Major arrested for picketing in protection of military pensioners’ rights

Press Release. February 23, 2010

YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin and leader of the Moscow Region YABLOKO General Major Anton Goretsky were arrested for conducting a picket in protection of the military pensioners’ rights that had not been coordinated with the authorities. The local authorities declined YABLOKO’s application to conduct picketing by the Ministry of Defence on February 23 (the Day of Defenders of the Fatherland). However, the same action had been allowed on January 20.
The participants of the picket held slogans “Scanty Military Pensions – a Disgrace to the State!” when about 15 OMON policemen arrested YABLOKO’s activists and drove them to the local police station.

The staff of the Government of the Moscow Region interferes with YABLOKO’s picketing

Press Release, January 28, 2010

The staff of the Government of the Moscow Region interfered with YABLOKO’s one-man picketing in front of their building. YABLOKO protests against virtual introduction of a ban on one-man pickets which has been initiated by the Moscow Region Duma.

The parliament of the Moscow Region submitted to the State Duma a draft law stipulating that one-man pickets (in addition to demonstrations, rallies and group pickets) should be not only coordinated with the authorities but organisers of such pickets should also submit the plan and schedule of such picketing. Activists of the Moscow Region branch of YABLOKO call one-man picketing the only form of street protest which has been available, as normally the authorities ban rallies and pickets with a large number of participants under faked pretexts.

Activists and leaders of the YABLOKO party participate in the action in memory of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasiya Baburova in Moscow

Press Release, January 20, 2010

Activists and leaders of the YABLOKO party participated in the action in memory of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasiya Baburova murdered a year ago.

Party leader Sergei Mitrokhin and member of the Political Committee Sergei Kovalyov participated in the march along Petrovsky Boulevard. Grigory Yavlinsky laid flowers to the place where Markelov and Baburova were killed and came to the picket by the Griboyedov monument where the march ended.

YABLOKO’s activists noted that they managed to escape mass-scale police reprisals only due to interference of Russia’s Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin who came to Petrovsky Boulevard.

At present YABLOKO’s activists are trying to prevent the second wave of arrests, provoked by the police who tore the megaphone from the speakers at the picket.

March and meeting Civil Society Against a Police State took place in Moscow
Press release, May 1, 2004

About 5,000 people participated in the march and meeting Civil Society Against a Police State, which took place in Moscow on May 1, 2004. Civil Society Against a Police State was the main slogan of the action.


The activists of the YABLOKO party will participate in meetings and marches in 35 Russian regions on May 1
Press release, April 30, 2004

The main slogans of the YABLOKO party will be as follows: No to a police state! Let us protect democracy! In many cities YABLOKO activists will also carry social slogans.


The Moscow Mayor's Office gives the go-ahead to democratic march and meeting on May 1
Press release, April 27, 2004

On Tuesday, April 27, 2004, the Moscow Mayor's Office authorised the holding in Moscow of a democratic march and a meeting under the slogan "Civil Society Against a Police State" on May 1, 2004.


The Civil Union of Vladimir began its work in Vladimir
Press release, April 24, 2004

A new public organisation - the Civil Union of Vladimir was established in Vladimir. The founders of the union are regional branches of two parties – the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO and the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS).


On the democratic march of May 1, 2004
Press-Service of the Moscow branch of YABLOKO, April 12, 2004

On April 9, 2004, the Moscow Mayor's Office refused an appeal from the Democratic Party YABLOKO and a number of public organisations to hold a march on May 1, 2004, under the slogan "Civil Society Against a Police State." The formal grounds for the refusal stated that the documents had been incorrectly drafted.


The Moscow Mayor's Office refused the application from Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO and a number of public organisations to hold a meeting on May 1, 2004
Press release, April 9, 2004

In addition to YABLOKO, the following organisations planned to participate in the action: the Committee-2008, the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS), the Moscow Helsinki Group, the movements "For Human Rights," "Common Action", the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, as well as a number of environmental organisations and independent trade unions.


Participation in peaceful demonstrations a human right
ELDR Press Release, April 15, 2011.

...Earlier this week Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of ELDR member party, Yabloko, was arrested and detained by police for taking part in a protest to demand the closure of a cement plant in the Pechatniki district of Moscow. The plant is situated in close proximity to a residential area and is considered a health concern for local residents.

Yabloko applied for permission to conduct a peaceful protest at the plant, but the local authorities delayed, beyond the legal limit, a response to the application and even though permission was eventually granted, Yabloko activists were prevented from holding their protest and Mitrokhin was arrested by police...

European Liberal Democrats are the strongest supporters of human rights and the rule of law and consider these values to be fundamental to the future relationship between the EU and Russia. Stopping peaceful demonstrations contravenes an essential human right and this is a worrying sign, particularly in view of upcoming parliamentary elections to be held in Russia later this year.

YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin detained at picket
LI News Bulletin, Issue 228, April 14, 2011

Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of LI full member YABLOKO, was arrested at a peaceful picket in Moscow yesterday (13 April). Yabloko activists were demonstrating against a cement plant, demanding the authorities to close it down, as it poses a health risk to nearby residents. Despite YABLOKO having applied for permission to picket, police arrived at the scene claiming that YABLOKO lacked a valid permission. Following his arrest, Mr Mitrohkin was detained for more than 3 hours. Commenting on the events to LI news, Mitrohkin says: 'Such detentions of people coming to legal and permitted rallies and pickets have already formed a dangerous trend in Russia: we often witness unmotivated police violence in breaking peaceful rallies or pickets, filing of criminal cases against people who dare to criticise the governments or administrations or defend their civil rights. All this means further curbing of the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in contrast to loud statements made by Russian top officials.' Sergei Mitrokhin now has to appear in court accused of participating in an unsanctioned picket.


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Van Baalen: “The [Arab] democrats should be supported without red tape – now”
Sam Rainsy meets with liberals across Scandinavia
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Ignatieff impresses after English/French Debates
ALDE-PACE: Religious dimension of intercultural dialogue debated in Strasbourg

Russian and European Integration

Speech by Sergei Mitrokhin
Liberal International Executive Committee
Berlin, June 11, 2010

Announcing a policy towards modernisation in Russia President of Russia put himself in line with a number of Russian rulers-reformers who aspired to perform radical transformations in the country. Some specific traits of this policy resemble those of his predecessors. The President understands modernisation primarily as acceleration of scientific and technological development. With some reservations about the need for political reform, the latter look like a number of quite shallow and very systematic activities...

Ombudsman Lukin: Rallies can not be “unsanctioned”

Human Rights in Russia, hro.org. June 2, 2010

Russia’s Ombudsman and one of the founders of the YABLOKO party Vladimir Lukin says that the heads of the interior should apologise before the participants of the rally they arrested at the Triunfalnaya Square, Moscow. He also refuses to sign an agreement on cooperation with the Interior Ministry until this is done, runs the BBC service.

Lukin has also prepared or is going to prepare and submit to the heads of the state proposals on “normalisation of the situation with conducting rallies,” Grani.ru informs with a reference to the Echo Moskvi radio station. Lukin announced this while commenting on police breaking of the action held in protection of Article 31 of the Constitution of Russia which guarantees freedom of assembly. “The Russian law does not contain such words as “sanctioned” or “unsanctioned”, and all the talk about sanctions are purely subjective,” Lukin stated. He also added that the heads of the Interior Ministry should conduct a thorough investigation of the events at the Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow on May 31.

Lukin also reiterated that he himself had been present at the rally and “can state that the law enforcement acted in an extremely tough and rude manner”. He also noted that on the same day the authorities gave a permission to conduct “a ‘gala-medical’ action”; whereas all the participants of this action were allowed to conduct a rally in the centre of Moscow from early in the morning till late at night...

A long silence by the head of the state

Nezavisimaya Gazeta. June 3, 2010

Yesterday the European Union publicly expressed its concern over the situation with human
rights in Russia. Such a statement was made by deputy head of the EU delegation in Russia Michael Webb. On the threashold of the Rostov-Don summit Moscow police brutally supressed an opposition rally. The head of state in the meantime did not respond to both of the developments. NG experts comment that Dmitry Medvedev is deliberately disassociating himself from the urgent problems. They note that Premier Vladimir Putin does not avoid the human rights topic.

Michael Webb of the EU mission said at the news conference in Rostov-on-Don that the European Union was particularly upset by the “situation with human rights activists and murders of journalists in Russia”. “We have also expressed our concern with the fact that the crimes committed by the law enforcement go unpunished,” Webb added...

Police in Moscow Rough up More Demonstrators
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, July 28, 2004

The Yabloko press service reported on 27 July that two members of the party were taken to a hospital following a rally outside FSB headquarters in Moscow, Ekho Moskvy and Interfax reported. The two injured, Irina Vorobeva and Aleksei Kozhin, are members of the party's youth wing, and one of them is reportedly in serious condition.


Passions Over Referenda
By Orkhan Dzhemal and Yana Serova, Novaya Gazeta, June 10, 2004

A referendum is a form of direct democracy. The people themselves take decisions on state issues, without using legislators as intermediaries. Early democracies functioned in this way: the citizens of ancient Athens or medieval Novgorod engaged in what amounted to constant referenda.


Over 1.4 Million Rally on May Day
By Anneli Nerman, The Moscow Times, May 6, 2004

With many of Moscow's Soviet-era satellites joining the European Union on Saturday, the Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky stressed that Russia's future also lies in integration with Europe.


Griogry Yavlinsky calls on democratic parties to unite
Rosbalt, May 1, 2004

According to a Rosbalt correspondent, YABLOKO’s leader also stated that the conditions requisite for the functioning of independent courts, parliament and mass media should be created in Russia. Public and civil control over secret services and the law and enforcement agencies should be installed.


Resolution of the meeting Civil Society Against a Police State
Moscow, Lubyanka square, May 1, 2004

Civil rights and liberties have been steadily curbed by the authorities. The division of powers into the legislative, the executive and the judicial has been transformed into a sheer formality.


Does Russia still need May Day
With participation of Grigory Yavlinsky, Vladimir Lukin and Sergei Mitrokhin

Based on BBC Monitoring, Anchor: Savvik Shuster, NTV Channel, "Freedom of Speech" programme, April 30, 2004

A table indicated that 60 per cent of the population thought that May Day had lost its meaning; 37 per cent thought it was important and should still be celebrated today; 4 per cent were unable to reply.


Liberals but No Hemp Lovers on May 1
By Oksana Yablokova, The Moscow Times, April 30, 2004

Yabloko will be joined by members and supporters of the Union of Right Forces party, the Committee 2008: Free Choice movement, Greenpeace, and the human rights organizations Moscow Helsinki Group, Soldiers' Mothers and others, Yabloko spokeswoman Yevgenia Dillendorf said.


Vladimir Putin normalized the Moscow authorities
By Yulia Taratuta and Igor Khamrayev, Kommersant, No 77, April 28, 2004

Moscow City Hall changed its mind and allowed YABLOKO to organize a demonstration on May 1


Democracy and Barricades: History Repeats Itself
IA MiK, April 14, 2004

...Meanwhile, another application on conducting a democratic march and signed by the leader of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO Grigory Yavlinsky, Chairperson of the Moscow Helsinki Group Ludmila Alexeeva and Chairperson of the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia Valentina Melnikova was submitted to the Moscow Mayor's Office on April 12, 2004.


Grigory Yavlinsky: The ban of the First of May march is symptomatic
Interview with Grigory Yavlinsky by Marina Gvozdevskaya, BBC, April 9, 2004

"...And this is connected with the fact that the action was announced as "Civil Society Against a Police State," and it was banned because it was stated in such an open and clear way."


It is time to protect the Constitution
The Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO, Appeal to Russia's independent public organisations, April 2, 2004

Freedom of assembly is one of the first victories of the Russian democracy. At present we can be deprived of this our conquest. The authorities have already done away with the independence of the large mass media and discredited the institution of free elections.


President Condemns Protest Bill
Combined Reports, The Moscow Times, April 13, 2004

Putin is sensitive about his democratic image after being criticized by the opposition and some Western governments for dominating the state-run airwaves in the run-up to his landslide re-election March 14.


Putin Criticizes Draft Law Limiting Freedom of Assembly
MosNews, April 12, 2004

Putin called the restrictions on the freedom of assembly "unwholesome". He said that "in terms of our reality", the right to hold demonstrations and processions should not be limited, the agency reported.


Moscow Mayor's Office turns down YABLOKO's application to organize a demonstration
By Konstantin Demchenko, Russkiy Kurier, No 75, p.1, April 10, 2004

Yesterday the Moscow Mayor's Office refused the request of leaders of the YABLOKO party to allow them to organize a demonstration and a rally on May 1. The demonstration was to take place under the slogan: "Civil society against a police state".


YABLOKO Forbidden from Holding Meetings in Moscow
RIA "OREANDA", April 9, 2004

On 1 May participants in the action planned to march along Myasnitskaya Street up to Lubyanka Square and hold a meeting on the square near the Solovetsky Stone. About 6,000 people planned to take part.


Duma Rethinks Ban on Protests
By Caroline McGregor, The Moscow Times, April 5, 2004

In the wake of "serious social resonance," the State Duma's United Russia majority backpedaled from outright support of a bill banning rallies in many public places Friday, just two days after voting in favor of it.


"YABLOKO" Supporters Stage a Picket by the Duma
RIA "Novosti", March 31, 2004

Picketers were protesting against the draft law on rallies, meetings, demonstrations, processions and pickets, which the Duma will discuss in the first reading.


Yabloko Demonstrates Against Restrictions to Freedom of Assembly
MosNews, March 31, 2004

Activists of the Russian liberal party Yabloko held a protest rally near the building of the State Duma on Wednesday morning.


Demonstrations near Embassies to be prohibited in Russia
pravda.ru, March 31, 2004

Demonstrations are addressed to the authorities. How will the authorities know about popular protests, if the demonstrations are held in residential areas?


Yabloko Accuses Government of Violating Constitution
Rosbalt, March 31, 2004

Yabloko says the government's new legislation on limiting public demonstrations violates the foundation of Russia's constitution and is aimed at eliminating civil rights which are guaranteed by Article 31 of the constitution.


Russian Bill Curbing Mass Rallies Gains
By David Holley, Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2004

In a move that could push protests largely out of the public eye, Russia's lower house of parliament gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a law that would ban demonstrations from a wide range of places, including areas close to highways, government buildings and diplomatic missions.


Are Meetings a Thing of the Past?
Aleksei Levchenko, Rosbalt. Translated by Alex Anderson, Rosbalt, April 1, 2004

The Duma has adopted a very interesting new law. Deputies have decided to severely regulate public meetings, marches and pickets. After carefully reading it, critics of the new legislation have concluded that the right to hold any mass meeting will now be in question.


Duma Bill Sharply Restricts Rallies
By Caroline McGregor, The Moscow Times, April 1, 2004

As the United Russia majority in the State Duma gave preliminary approval to a bill outlawing protests near government buildings Wednesday, pro-democracy activists staged a rally outside the Duma's main entrance to insist on their right to do just that.

Press releases


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