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Press releases and Publications

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: “Putin must make them investigate the Mikhail Beketov case

Press Release, April 11, 2013

Civil funeral service in memory of journalist and public activist Mikhail Beketov took place at the House of Journalists today. Mikhail Beketov was a Russian journalist who combated against crime and corruption in the city of Khimki (including defence of Khimki Forest which had to be cut due the construction of the Moscow–Saint Petersburg highway). Beketov was attacked and severely injured by “unidentified persons” in 2008. As a result his leg and fingers on the left hand were amputated, he lost speech and became handicapped. The attackers have not been found. He died in hospital of complications due to brain damage at the age of 55 on 8 April 2013...

“Mikhail Beketov struggled face to face against the crime in Khimki, and there are a few people like him, however, there are a lot of journalists among these few. This list [of murdered journalists] coincides with the list of unsolved murders. The investigators know the name of the person who ordered this crime, but there is no will so that to bring this person to justice. The tragedy of our country is that outright criminals are in power now. Mikhail stood in their way and was murdered. President Putin should have sent not only his condolences, but had to keep up his promise and take the case under his control. What else but death can become a reason for this? May the memory to a great person Mikhail Beketov live forever,” said Sergei Mitrokhin...

In defence of the MK newspaper. YABLOKO’s view

Press Release, March 20, 2013

The YABLOKO party believes that the stance of the State Duma deputies in their conflict with the MK newspaper violates the Russian law envisaging that it is the court which takes decisions on all the disputes relating to publications in the mass media. The MPs actions not only contravene the procedures established by law, but are also in conflict with ethical and moral norms governing public life...

The MPs’ demands to [Pavel Gusev], Editor-in-Chief of the MK to leave his post of Chairman of the Moscow Journalists’ Union represents an attempt to interfere into the spheres of public life that are completely beyond control of the legislative authority and are governed by internal corporate standards of professional communities.

The MPS’ idea to "take away" MK from Pavel Gusev [who is also the owner of the paper] is a direct attack on the principle of the inviolability of private property. Proposing such solutions to disputes with the media MPs undermine the legal foundations of the state, which again demonstrates their great incompetence and catastrophic failure as the legislators...

Grigory Yavlinsky led YABLOKO’s column at the anti-fascist manifestation in Moscow

Press Release, January 19, 2013.

Grigory Yavlinsky, YABLOKO founder and member of its Political Committee, led YABLOKO’s column at the anti-fascist manifestation in Moscow. The action was held in memory of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova killed by Neo-Nazis in the centre of Moscow...

Party activists held a banner "Fascism will not go" and photographs of the killed Stanislav Markelov, Anastasia Baburova, Yury Schekochikhin, Farid Babayev, Anna Politkovskaya and Larissa Yudina.

"Fascism is very dangerous: it emerges all of a sudden and embraces a vast mass of people. This is a huge problem in human history and probably one of the most tragic and terrible pages in the political history of mankind. In our country fascism may be very dangerous especially when linked with Stalinism, so even the slightest movements towards it have to be stopped it. And there are lots of such movements in life and politics now. Therefore, the more people will consciously, openly and loudly oppose fascism, the better it is. And this must be done continuously," said Yavlinsky...

The third action of Vladimir Putin supporters in front of the Krasnodar YABLOKO office is marked by burning effigies of Sergei Mitrokhin, Evgenia Chirikova and Alexei Navalny

Press Release, Video, December 6, 2012.

On December 4, 2012, the third action of Vladimir Putin supporters took place in front of the Krasnodar office of the YABLOKO party. The action was organised by the Social Justice public organisation uniting Vladimir Putin supporters. The participants of the action burned the effigies of Sergei Mitrokhin, Evgenia Chirikova and Alexei Navalny.

About 50 people participated in the ‘puting’ (a word coined of two words - “Putin” and “meeting” - and meaning a loud action in support of Vladimir Putin). Most of them were elderly people. They stated that “YABLOKO was trying to destroy Russia”, and that “YABLOKO was fungus and moldiness parasiting on Russia’s healthy body”...

Stop discrediting Russia!

Statement by YABLOKO Chairman, November 22, 2012.

The campaign of mobbing of renowned human rights organisations - the "Memorial", Transparency International, the Moscow Helsinki Group, the Foundation for Economic and Legal Development USRF and "For Human Rights" movement - unleashed by pro-Kremlin youth movements is unlawful and immoral.

Similar actions are taken in respect of the YABLOKO party. On November 19 a second rally by the pro-Putin organisation called "Social Justice" was held by the Krasnodar office of the YABOKO party. Vladimir Putin’s supporters try to make our party to "publicly apologize for the insulting leaflets against the elected President"...

A second action in support of Vladimir Putin takes place in front the Krasnodar office of the YABLOKO party

Press Service by the Krasnodar branch of YABLOKO, Videos, November 21, 2012.

On November 19, a rally of public non-governmental organisation Social Justice (supporting Vladimir Putin) took place in front of the in front the Krasnodar office of the YABLOKO party.
The organizers of the rally tried to make the Krasnodar YABLOKO "publicly apologize for the insulting leaflets against the elected President".

This is already the second action against YABLOKO organised by Krasnodar supporters of Vladimir Putin. The first action in a form of a pocket was held in front of the office of the Krasnodar branch of YABLOKO on November 1. The pro-Putin rally gathered about 50 participants who carried slogans "The Krasnodar Territory supports Putin" and "Social justice." The overwhelming majority of the participants were elderly women. Several supervisors registered those who came to the rally so that to give them remuneration for participation in the rally...

YABLOKO activists, in turn, spread among the protesters different materials about Putin, including the booklet "The Black Sea Palaces and Their Hosts" and "Life of the Galley Slave" and other booklets (‘anti-government’ from the point of the view of the organizers of the rally). The booklets went like hotcakes, despite of active counteraction of the organizers who tried to snatch the booklets from the hands of their own activists. But the participants of the pro-Putin rally turned out to be interested in alternative information about Putin and carried away about 100 "anti-government’s" booklets...

Dismissal of Radio Liberty journalists and staff is a political mistake

Statement by Sergei Mitrokhin and Grigory Yavlinsky, October 10, 2012.

The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO expresses its deep concern with the situation around the Radio Liberty Russian Service. Mass dismissal of the key journalists of the Moscow Bureau endangers the very existence of Radio Liberty as an objective and high-quality media.

The official version about transfer to the new digital technologies and abolishing of broadcasting on the medium waves is beyond any criticism.If this were the real reason, then the Radio Liberty management would not have fired in the first ranks the staff of the Radio Liberty web-site, which made the Radio Liberty web-site one of the most respected and quoted political resources of the Russian segment of the Internet.

Apparently, this demonstrates a bureaucratic error turning into a political error. Bureaucrats from mass media were solving their narrow tasks and did not take into account the political consequences, which are as follows: the Russian audience is deprived of the source of information they have trusted for decades, and it is obvious that the reputation of the media is, above all, the reputation of its journalists...

Grigory Yavlinsky wants independent television channel Dozhd to come to St. Petersburg

Press Release, September 7, 2012.

Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the Yabloko faction in the St. Petersburg’s parliament, proposed to the largest cable operator in the city to include television channel Dozhd (Rain) into the basic package of TV channels offered to braod public.

Grigory Yavlinsky expressed his certainty that St.Petersburg viewers would be interested in receiving honest news and discussion programmes, as well as live broadcasts by the channel, such as had been done by Dozhd from winter and spring mass-scale rallies in Moscow and on the flooding in South Russia.

YABLOKO leader also added that audience would be interested in the views of the leading journalists of the Dozhd channel, including Leonid Parfyonov, Pavel Lobkov, Mikhail Kozyrev, Mikhail Fishman, Mikhail Zygar and Ksenia Sobchak...

Pickets against the law on non-profit organisations and the libel law held by the State Duma

Press Release, July 13, 2012.

Today YABLOKO activists conducted by the State Duma a series of one-person pickets against the law on non-profit organisations and the libel law considerably worsening the situation for civil society activists. YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin who also participated in the action said that the State Duma should concentrate on the creation of a commission for investigating the causes of the tragic flood in the Krasnodar Territory, rather than consideration of reprisals prone amendments to the law on non-profit organisations and restoring liability for libel as a criminal offense.

YABLOKO activists in turn held a banner picturing Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Heinrich Himmler, Felix Dzerzhinsky, Lavrenty Beria and Vladimir Putin with a subscription "Amendments to the law on non-profit organisations. Fascists are for it! KGB people are for it!"
Sergei Mitrokhin also participated in a journalists' picket against the libel law. He drew a placard "No to the libel law" at site...

YABLOKO demands investigation of the actions of the head of Russia's Investigative Committee

Statement by YABLOKO Chairman, June 13, 2012.

Information about an intimidation campaign launched by Alexander Bastrykin, head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, against Sergei Sokolov, journalist of oppositional Novaya Gazeta, is extremely alarming.

It provides ample grounds to begin an immediate investigation of what happened on June 4 in Nalchik and the Moscow region.

We demand that such an investigation is conducted and full information on the results of such investigation must be publicized.

We also believe that until the investigation is completed, more attention should be paid to security provisions for Novaya Gazeta journalists...

YABLOKO leader proposes to form Public Television Supervisory Board out of representatives of political parties
Press Release, April 26, 2012.

YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin in his speech at the “Open Tribune” meeting criticized the President's initiative on public television. According to Mitrokhin, the key problem was the functioning of the state-owned television "uncontrolled by the society, censored and manipulating with public opinion”, rather than absence of public television in Russia.

Mitrokhin also noted that Presidential Decree on establishing of public television represented "another bureaucratic imitation": "public's attention would be simply switched onto channels functioning of decimeter frequencies, while the meter channels would remain mouthpieces for propaganda"...
He proposed a different mechanism for formation of the Supervisory Board, which "would create truly independent television". The Board should include representatives of various political parties or parliamentary factions. “However, there should be an equal number of representatives from each of the parties, so that to avoid the dominance of the [ruling] United Russia [party]," stressed Mitrokhin.

Rally held on the birthday of Vladimir Putin's censorship on TV
Press Release, April 14, 2012.

About 300 people took part in the rally "For the freedom of the media! Against the lies and censorship on TV! The rally was held by the Ostankino TV centre on April 14. The action began and ended with demonstrations. A column of YABLOKO activists led by party Chairman Sergei Mitrokhin marched from the metro station to the site of the rally despite the ban of the authorities on a march. In the end of the rally the participants made a “present” to "Putin's censorship" on its birthday.

April 14 is considered to be the birthday of Vladimir Putin's censorship on television. At night of April 13 on April 14, 2001, there was forceful change of the Board of the key Russian independent private television company NTV...

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...

YABLOKO leaders Sergei Mitrokhin and Grigory Yavlinsky spoke at a rally in Novy Arbat prospect, Moscow
Press Release, March 10, 2012.

YABLOKO leaders Sergei Mitrokhin and Grigory Yavlinsky spoke at a rally in Novy Arbat prospect, Moscow. Sergei Mitrokhin gave his time for the speech to Alexei Sklyarov, Editor-in-Chief the Pulse television company in Azov. It is the only independent television company in southern Russia, however, local authorities began pressing the company after Alexei Sklyarov headed the League of Voters in Azov.

"We together with the League of Voters conducted monitoring and control over voting [at elections] across the country. And once again I would like to state that the elections of March 4 were rigged. We are not going to make speeches today, we would like to give the time allotted for our speeches to a unique person - Alexei Sklyarov. He is the head of the only free, independent television company in the southern Russia. His television company has been attacked because he together with YABLOKO monitored the elections," Sergei Mitrokhin told to the protesters...

Grigory Yavlinsky addressed the participants of the rally with n a brief speech, "Friends, I am glad to meet you again. It is already my sixth speech at a rally for the past three months. I remember every word I said. We will accomplish all this. The road is long and difficult. The victory in the fight will not come soon, but it will come. Russia will be free. Russia demands changes!"

Grigory Yavlinsky’s statement prepared for the rally in Novy Arbat* on March 10
March 9, 2012.

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 offenses;
- stop unlawful prosecution of businessman Alexei Kozlov;
- 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 governing;
- 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 struggle.

How I Got Kicked Out of Russia.
The New York Times, February 28, 2012.

...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...

The original publication in the New York Times

Stop persecution of Novaya Gazeta!
Statement by the YABLOKO party,
February 22, 2012.

Pressure on the National Reserve Bank financing Novaya Gazeta can not be regarded as accidental.

It is a deliberate political persecution on the threashold of the presidential election of one of the best Russian printed media which has always demonstrated its honest, objective and independent position.

The authorities are mortally scared of the society and of the truth. Therefore, they have launched persecutions against journalism.

We demand to immediately cease persecution of Novaya Gazeta and ensure normal publication of the paper...

Extradition of writer and journalist Anne Nivat represents probation of a reprisals response on the growth of civil activity
Statement by YABLOKO Chairman.
February 15, 2012.

The Federal Migration Service unlawful and insulting actions against Anne Nivat, French journalist and writer, create a dangerous precedent. A journalist implementing her professional duty and never violating Russian laws was put under surveillance and was expelled from the country on political grounds – after she had spoken to the opponents of the present Russian government.

Such actions return us to totalitarian practices, when the state regarded any oppositional activities and contacts with foreign press a direct threat to the state security. This has never happened even in Putin’s Russia. However now we have witnessed an attempt to restore such practices.

We regard this as purposeful actions by the representatives of the state, a reprisals tryout as a response to the civil activity growth. We demand an immediate revision of the decision by the Federal Migration Service on Anne Nivat and offering her an apology at a level of at least a service head. We demand punishment for those responsible for abusive actions against Anne Nivat.
If this is not done, the reprisals tryout will pass successfully into our life.

In support of the Echo Moskvi radio station

Grigory Yavlinsky’s 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 elections.

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...

French Author Says Russia Expelled Her on Political Grounds
The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2012.

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 party.

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...

publication in the WSJ

Russian Immigration Officer Sacked after Expelling French Author. The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2012

Russia expels French journalist 'for talking to foes of Putin'. The Guardian, February 14, 2012

YABLOKO website threatened with closure
Press Release, January 31, 2012.

Public prosecutor of Moscow requires the YABLOKO party to provide information about the organization, where the web-site server of yabloko.ru is physically located. Investigators are interested in the actual location of the organization, its legal address and contact telephone numbers.

The request of the prosecutor's office was given to the party this morning. Further, the information must be provided to Zamoskvoretskaya Interdistrict Prosecutor's Office as early as 15:00.

The requirements put forward during the audit were launched upon request to the prosecution by the Central Electoral Commission’s chief Vladimir Churov. The latter appealed to the prosecutors after YABLOKO published on its website the so-called "Churov list" - a list of leaders of local electoral commissions, where protocols of voting were falsified or the observers were removed without any reason on the parliamentary elections voting day December 4, 2011...

Unidentified persons burnt the office of "Vechrniy Krasnokamsk" weekly published by YABLOKO
Press Release, January 28, 2012.

Fire resulting from an arson fire has completely destroyed the office of "Vechrniy Krasnokamsk" weekly this night. The founder and editor-in-chief of the weekly is Olga Kolokolova, leader of the Perm YABLOKO branch and deputy of the City Council in Krasnokamsk. Olga believes that it is a revenge by Yury Chechyotkin, the city Mayor, for journalists’ investigation into his embezzlement of budget funds allocated for housing repairs in the city...

In April 2011, unknown persons assailants beat Olga Kolokolova’s father – deputy of the Krasnokamsk City Duma Arkady Kolokolov. He helped the crew of the "Riphey-Perm" television company, which investigated the circumstances of the repairs in the TSZh Parkovoi. The contractor hired by the managing company providing services for the house received 4.5 million rubles, but the works were not completed...

In addition, in November 2011, on the eve of the parliamentary elections of December 4, 2011 and the Legislative Assembly of the Perm Area, Svetlana Ivanova, candidate from the YABLOKO party was attacked by an unidentified person. She was hit on the head, the blow broke the frontal bone. She will remain disabled...

Putin Awards Opposition Journalist. By Alexander Bratersky

The Moscow Times, November 2, 2011

...But the government needs to punish the attackers to prove it is serious, said Beketov's supporters, including Yabloko party leader Sergei Mitrokhin and Yevgenia Chirikova, who heads the campaign in defense of the forest.

"If they can give Misha back his leg and the third of his brain that got smashed away, I'm all in favor," an indignant Chirikova said Tuesday, according to Gazeta.ru.

"But if this is just a way of saying, 'Oh, what a nice Misha!' by the people who have created the system that crippled him, then this is cynicism, pure and simple," she said.

Mitrokhin said by phone that he was sad the authorities didn't think about Beketov until it was too late.

"The government didn't care about him when he was lying there dying in a Khimki hospital," said Mitrokhin, who helped to transfer Beketov to a better medical facility after the attack...

The original publication by the Moscow Times

From Democracy to Freedom. The Main Task of Political Changes in Russia Is To Disparage the Plebeianism of the People and the Authorities Alike. By Alexei Melnikov.

Gazeta.ru, October 31, 2011

The thesis in liberal political circles that there is insufficient democracy in Russia is something that is obvious in itself. But the main problem, on the contrary, is the absence of aristocratism and elitism, the blending of genres, persons, and institutions.

Everything is subordinated to a kind of uniform standard based on the power of money. On this altar scientific conscientiousness, the talents of journalists, and political reputations are sacrificed. And when some kind of moneybags ascends on the political horizon, a significant part of the political community begins to shake its little wings in excitement, in the hope that the golden dust will settle on them.

In point of fact, it was in this that the main content of the "Prokhorov phenomenon" and other similar appearances of big money in Russian politics lay. This is why the general picture is painted in a single colour with different hues -instead of freely flourishing complexity, we have the emulation of plebeianism in the very worst sense of this word...

Russia clamps down on opposition before elections. By Kathy Lally

The Washington Post, October 30, 2011

...Petlin, now 38 and the only Yabloko member in the 28-seat city Duma, kept battling the shopping center. On Aug, 26, his freedom was revoked and he was taken to pretrial Detention Center No. 1, which is so overcrowded, Bashkov said, that each cell holds twice its capacity. People sleep on the floor, or take turns on the beds. Tuberculosis and hepatitis are rampant. "We are talking about innocent people who haven't been tried," he said.

A few days ago, with prosecutors still unprepared to try him, Petlin's detention was extended until Dec. 22.

"I think he had an idea about the scale of the corruption," said Petlin's wife, Tatyana, "but none of us could even imagine this"...

The original publication by the Washington Post

Sergei Mitrokhin connects resignation of Vyacheslav Dudka, Governor of Tula Region, with corruption scandals

Press Release, July 29, 2011

"Resignation of Vyacheslav Dudka, Governor Tula Region, is connected with corruption scandals around him and his people," said YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin.
"It was clear for me that Dudka would resign soon after court acquitted Vladimir Timakov, MP of the Tula City Duma [who was a defendant on a libel case for his criticism of the Governor], on June 30," Mitrokhin added.
Court found that Vladimir Timakov, YABLOKO’s MP in the Tula City Duma was guilty of libel in November 2010. The court found that Timakov’s criticism of the Governor for corruption was “libel”...

YABLOKO campaign unfairly targeted
ELDR Press Release, July 22, 2011.

...In conducting a campaign in the Black Sea coastal region to return public land, including beaches and forest areas, to the people and to stop the construction of oil shipment terminals, ELDR member party YABLOKO, has been targeted by an unknown source which is calling for the party to be put on a list of terrorist organisations and for its activities to be prohibited.

Click here to read YABLOKO's press release on this matter.

This follows the arrest last month of YABLOKO activists campaigning for better environmental awareness and consideration at the Black Sea coast. Read more.

The notion of wanting to label a political party as being a terrorist organisation on the basis of conducting a peaceful campaign that represents the views of a number of citizens living in the area concerned is very worrying and a clear infringement of human rights and on the actions of YABLOKO as a political party. ELDR deplores such attempts to limit the freedom of expression of the Russian people and the underhand tactics used against YABLOKO to halt the campaign.

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.

Public Prosecutor dismisses charges against YABLOKO’s MP in the Tula parliament Vladimir Timakov

Press Release, June 30, 2011.

On July 30 Public Prosecutor dismissed his charges against YABLOKO’s MP in the Tula parliament Vladimir Timakov. Public Prosecutor asked to close the case due to for absence of elements of crime in the act after getting the results of a linguistic expertise. This means that the sentence of the court of the first instance recognising Timakov guilty of libel for his criticism of the Governor of the Tula Region will be cancelled.
Over two yeas ago Vyacheslav Dudka, Governor of the Tula Region, started litigation against YABLOKO’s MP in the Tula City Parliament Vladimir Timakov for the criticism of the latter of the Governor’s performance accusing Timakov of libel. In the first civil process the Governor won 1.5 mln roubles of “moral damage” from Timakov and than tried to persecute the MP in the criminal proceedings which could have led to deprivation of Timakov of his deputy’s mandate...

Tuapse printing facility refused to print YABLOKO’s bulletin for the rally obeying the order from the authorities

Press Release, June 24, 2011.

Tuapse subsidiary of the Kuban Printing Works refused to print YABLOKO’s bulletin on environmental problems “Let Us Save the City”. YABLOKO and North Caucasus Environmental Watch planned to conduct a rally against launching of chemical shipments terminal on Sunday, June 26...

Activists of the Youth branch of St.Petersburg YABLOKO held a Skype conference under the FSB windows

Press Release, April 13, 2011.

Activists of the St. Petersburg Youth branch of YABLOKO held a flashmob in front of the Federal Security Service (FSB) office in St. Petersburg. The action was conducted in response to the recent statements by the representatives of the FSB on the need to ban Gmail, Hotmail and Skype in Russia.

Several activists organized a Skype-conference directly under the windows of the Federal Security Service. The activists held laptops connected to the Internet and also held inscriptions "The threat to Russian security" on their backs. The participants of the Skype-conference discussed the recent statement by the FSB and came to a conclusion that the idea to ban Skype, Gmail and Hotmail was "stupid and useless". Chair St. Petersburg Youth Yabloko Alexander Gudimov also held a banner "Freedom can not be banned”...

Editor-in-Chief of the Pskovskaya Gubernya paper and leader of the Pskov branch of YABLOKO Lev Schlosberg became wins the Golden Pen of Russia award

February 12, 2011.

Editor-in-Chief of the Pskovskaya Gubernya (The Pskov Province) paper and leader of the Pskov branch of YABLOKO Lev Schlosberg became won the Golden Pen of Russia award - the highest professional award of the Russian Journalists Union. It is already the second year that members of the YABLOKO party win this prestigious award. Last year the winner of the award was member of the YABLOKO’s Bureau and a columnist of the popular Novaya Gazeta paper Boris Vishnevsky.The honorary title of the Golden Pen of Russia is awarded to Russian journalists for outstanding creative achievements by merit or for individual publications demonstrating professional excellence, civil position and personal courage of the author...

YABLOKO participated in a march and a rally in memory of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasiya Baburova

Press Release, January 19, 2011

YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin, member of YABLOKO’s Bureau Valery Borschov and activists of the Moscow branch of the party participated in a march and a rally in memory of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasiya Baburova.

Several hundreds people marched along the Tverskoy Boulevard to the Novopushkinsky Garden in the centre of Moscow. The participants held portraits of the murdered antifascists and journalists. A short rally took place in the Novopushkinsky Garden. People spoke about the neonazists’ crimes performed at the negligence of the authorities. One of the last speeches by Stanislav Markeov recorded shortly before his death was demonstrated on one of the large monitors...

Leaders and activists of the YABLOKO party laid flowers to the place of murder of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasiya Baburova

Press Release, January 19, 2011

Leader of the YABLOKO party Sergei Mitrokhin and members of YABLOKO’s Political Committee Grigory Yavlinsky and Mikhail Amosov, as well as leaders and activists of the Moscow YABLOKO laid flowers to the place of murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasiya Baburova in the centre of Moscow at Prechistenka street.
Later today (at 8 p.m.) Sergei Mitrokhin will participate in the memorial rally organised by the Committee of January 19. The rally will take place in the Novopushkinsky garden.
Markelov and Baburova were murdered in Moscow in plain daylight on January 19, 2009, shot in the head by a gunman. According to the investigators, the crime was performed by neonazies...

YABLOKO to pay tribute to the memory of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasiya Baburova

Press Release, January 18, 2011

Tomorrow on January 19 (at 14-30) the leader and activists of the YABLOKO party will lay flowers to the place at Prechistenka street where lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasiya Baburova were killed.

Later on the same day (20-00) Sergei Mitrokhin will participate in the memorial rally organised by the Committee of January 19. The rally will take place in the Novopushkinsky garden...

YABLOKO conducted a memorial action paying tribute to murdered journalists

Press Release, December 15, 2010

On Wednesday, December 15, on the Journalists Memorial Day, the YABLOKO party conducted a memorial action paying tribute to murdered journalists. YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin and head of YABLOKO’s Gender faction Galina Mikhalyova also participated in the picketing.
The action took place by the Griboyedov monument at Chistiye Prudy. YABLOKO’s activists held photographs of murdered journalists with the dates when they were killed and placards “Univestogated murders = a disgrace for the state!” and “No one brought to account?” showing that the murders have been still uninvestigated. The murderers of P.Khlebnikov (The Forbes), I.Domnikov, Yu.Schekochikhin, A.Politkovskaya (Novaya Gazeta), A.Sidorov, V.Ivanov (Toliattinskoye Obozreniye) E.Markevich (Noviy Ref), Ya.Yaroshenko (Korruptzia I Prestupnost), V.Krivosheyev (Komsomolskaya Pravda, Lipetsk), Larissa Yudina (Sovietskaya Kalmykia) and many other have not been found...

YABLOKO to conduct a memorial action paying tribute to murdered journalists

Press Release, December 14, 2010

On Wednesday, December 15, the YABLOKO party will conduct a memorial action paying tribute to murdered journalists. The picket will take place on the Journalists Memorial Day devoted to journalists who were killed in the line of their duty and conducted by the Russian Journalists’ Union. The action will take place by the Griboyedov monument at Chiastiye Prudy. YABLOKO’s activists will hold photographs of murdered journalists with the dates when they were killed. The activists will also hold a banner with a question “No one brought to account?” against a background of photos of the journalists whose murders have been still uninvestigated. Thus the murderers of P.Khlebnikov (The Forbes), I.Domnikov, Yu.Schekochikhin, A.Politkovskaya (Novaya Gazeta), A.Sidorov, V.Ivanov (Toliattinskoye Obozreniye) E.Markevich (Noviy Ref), Ya.Yaroshenko (Korruptzia I Prestupnost), V.Krivosheyev (Komsomolskaya Pravda, Lipetsk), Larissa Yudina (Sovietskaya Kalmykia) and many other. The activists will light candles in memory of the killed journalists...

On the court judgment on Vladimir Timakov libel case

Statement by the Chairman of the Tula YABLOKO, November 30, 2010

Yesterday night Tula Court passed a judgment which proclaimed deputy of the Tula City Duma from the YABLOKO party journalist Vladimir Timakov guilty of libel against Governor of the Tula region. Such a judgment on Timakov was made as he had laid the blame for the growth of corruption in the Tula region on Governor Dudka as the top official of the region. Timakov had explained his opinion by growth of corruption cases against top regional and municipal officials.

The court of the first instance had already obliged Vladimir Timakov to pay to the Governor RUR 1.5 million (approx. USD 500,000) as a compensation of moral damage. Unfortunately yesterday’s decision of the judge did not come as a surprise. The Tula regional branch of YABLOKO considers the guilty verdict [against Timakov] as another confirmation that independent judicial system is lacking in Russia and in the Tula region in particular...

YABLOKO leaves the rally protesting against participation of nationalists

Press Release, November 21, 2010

The YABLOKO party left the rally against arbitrary rule during trails against journalists and human rights activists protesting against participation in the rally of the ultra-right Russkiy Obraz (The Russian Image) organisation that came to the rally bearing their flags. YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin proposed to the representative of nationalists a compromise – to participate in the rally without their nationalistic symbols but the latter refused. After this YABLOKO including activists from the Tula branch of YABLOKO, the Moscow YABLOKO and Sergei Mitrokhin, left the Pushkin Square.

The activists of the Tula branch of YABLOKO specially came to Moscow so that to tell about criminal persecutions against Vladimir Timakov, deputy of the Tula Regional Duma (regional parliament) from the YABLOKO faction , for alleged “libel” against Governor of the Tula Region Vuacheslav Dudka. In accordance with Article 129 of the Criminal Code Timakov faces three years of imprisonment for his criticism of the Governor...

YABLOKO’s action in protection of journalists

Newsler.ru, November 15, 2010

On November 14, the YABLOKO party conducted a federal action against political terror launched against journalists and civil activists. Such a picket was held in Kirov.

At noon six activists of YABLOKO’s regional branch unfolded YABLOKO’s flags and placards “Search for truth = a way to death?”, “Who will protect the defenders?” and “Uninvestigated attacks [on journalists and human rights actvists]= a disgrace of the state!” Denis Shadrin, deputy head of the regional branch of YABLOKO told to the “Reporter” that attack against journalist Oleg Kashin was the reason for organizing the picket. “This incident was the law straw that breaks the camel’s back, as there were cases of violence against representatives of the media and civil activists,” Shadrin said. “The lives of the people who are telling the truth to the society are very important and should be in safety.” The goal of the picket was to draw the attention of the authorities to this problem...

Action against persecution of journalists took place in Samara

samru.ru, November 15, 2010

On November 14, several one-person pickets demanding to stop persecutions of civil activists and journalists took place in Samara.Five people participated in picketing at the Heroes of the 21 Army Square (including journalist from the Echo Moskvi radio station Gor Melkonyan and head of YABLOKO’s regional branch Igor Yermolenko), five more people came to support the picket.

The participants of the action held a placard “Stop persecuting civil activists and journalists!”, another placard contained names of activists and journalists murdered or injured for the past years and a questions “Who’s next?”...

500 people came to a rally against political terror in Moscow

Press Release, November 14, 2010

About 500 people came to a rally against political terror which took place in Moscow today, despite of the fact that only 300 people were allowed for the rally by the authorities. The rally was initiated by the YABLOKO party, the Movement for Protection of the Khimki Forest and a number of other public organisations. The action was conducted on the second anniversary of attack on Mikhail Beketov, Editor-in-Chief of the Khimki Pravda paper, who was left handicapped due to grave injuries. The participants of the rally also paid tribute to other journalists and public activists – victims of “political bandits”...

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...

YABLOKO's Federal Council adopts a New Course

Press Release, November 9, 2010

YABLOKO’s Federal Council meeting took place on November 5-6, 2010. The Federal Council is YABLOKO’s representative body and comprises about 170 people...

...In the document entitled “On the New Political Course” the Federal Council states the YABLOKO “considers qualitative evolutionary changes in Russia’s political and economic system by the key political task”. “We are reaffirming our the commitment to the principles and objectives stated in the Programme of the YABLOKO party - the Democratic manifesto. Construction of a modern democratic welfare state of the European type which would expresses the interests of the civil society and be controlled by it is the only possible way of Russia’s development. There is no other strategy for preservation and development of Russia,” runs the document...

YABLOKO to conduct an action in support of human rights activists and journalists in Ekaterinburg

Press Release, November 11, 2010

On Sunday, November 14, YABLOKO will hold a rally by the office of the ruling United Russia party in Ekaterinburg. The action will take place on the anniversary of the attack on Mikhail Beketov, Editor-in-Chief of the Khimkinskaya Pravda newspaper, and will be dedicated to all civil activists and journalists - victims of attacks and assaults...

"I believe that it is the ruling party, represented by its youth organisations, which has been fueling the fire of a deadly feud, fascism, and search of enemies in their country. I think that what we see today is just a consequence of this policy. I believe that violence can be ended only be means of civil protest and joining effort by all civil and political forces. Kremlin’s ideologists should realise that we will not tolerate such things", said Maxim Petlin, leader of the Sverdlovsk branch of YABLOKO and member of Ekaterinburg City Duma...

YABLOKO obtains a permission from the Moscow Mayor’s office to conduct a rally against political terror

Press Release, November 9, 2010

Today YABLOKO has obtained a permission from the Moscow Mayor’s office to conduct a rally against political terror on November 14. The rally will take place by the Giboyedov monument at Chistiye Prudi. The rally marks the sad anniversary of an attack against journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the Khimki Pravda paper Mikhail Beketov left handicapped because of the injuries (Mikhail was one of the activists protecting the Khimki Forest near Moscow and criticizing the local authorities), and will be commemorate all the journalists and human rights activists who were injured or murdered. The participants of the action will speak about Konstantin Fetisov, activist protecting the Khimiki Forest, and journalist of the Kommersant paper Oleg Kashin who were severely injured several days ago...

Pickets in support of journalist Oleg Kashin take place in St.Petersburg

Press Release, November 8, 2010

Pickets in support of journalist from the Kommersant paper Oleg Kashin attacked and severely injured at night on November 6, took place in St.Petersburg on Saturday and Sunday. The pickets were held in the main street of the city Nevsky Prospekt. Students from different universities, journalists and activists of St.Petersburg Youth YABLOKO participated in the picketing...

Sergei Mitrokhin took part in the picket of solidarity with journalist Oleg Kashin

Press Release, November 8, 2010

YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin participated in the picketing of the Moscow Interior Office where journalists and public activists have been holding an ongoing action demanding to investigate the attack against journalist of the popular Kommersant paper Oleg Kashin...

On the attack against journalist Oleg Kashin

Statement by the Federal Council of the YABLOKO party, November 6, 2010

The Federal Council of the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO expresses indignation in connection with the attack against journalist of the Kommersant paper Oleg Kashin who was severely injured.

There is every reason to believe that the attack was related to his professional activities. YABLOKO wishes to Oleg Kashin a speedy recovery, and demands from the law enforcement a thorough investigation and punishment of those who committed this attack.

The YABLOKO party states that it is ready to participate in an independent investigation of the circumstances of this crime and render all possible assistance, its human and organizational resources to Editor-in-Chief Mikhail Mikhailin and the team of the Kommersant paper. YABLOKO has already had an experience of such investigations: on the case of murder of our friend and party colleague well-known Russian journalist Larissa Yudina...

A party in memory of Larissa Yudina to take place in YABLOKO’s office

Press Release, October 20, 2010

On October 22, the birthday of Larissa Yudina, Editor-in-Chief of Sovietskaya Kalmykia newspaper, murdered in July 1998, the YABLOKO party will conduct a party in her memory. The party is devoted not only to Larissa Yudina, but to all the journalists who died implementing their work...

The murder of Larissa Yudina is still uninvestigated

Statement by the YABLOKO party, October 22, 2010

Today our friend, journalist and editor of the Sovetskaya Kalmykia Today paper Larisa Yudina would have turned 65.

She was killed on June 7, 1998. The perpetrators and the organiser of this murder – S.Vaskin who had had several criminal records and served as Legal Advisor to the President of Kalmykia Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, were found and convicted.

However, the person who ordered the murder has not been named yet, in spite of the fact that the investigation knows his name...

Investigation of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya should be boosted

Statement by YABLOKO's Chairman. October 7, 2010.

The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO demands to boost investigation of the murder of journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya.

There is much chance to efficiently investigate this case.

The investigation produced some results, however, it has not moved any further for a long time.

We think that this happens first of all due to the lack of political will to complete the investigation, i.e. to find those who ordered the murder...

Who wanted to kill journalist Mikhail Beketov

Press Release, September 14, 2010.

YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin continues to insist that "Governor of the Moscow region Boris Gromov bears the political responsibility for everything happening in the Moscow region, including the situation with crime, which allows [criminals] to attempt lives of public figures"...

Governor of the Moscow region Boris Gromov applied to court stating that Mitrokhin’s speech at rally on November 16, 2009, on the anniversary of the attack against Beketov. Mitrokhin’s speech appeared at YouTube and was also published at YABLOKO’s web-site. The Governor of the Moscow region demanded compensation of moral damages amounting to RUR 500,000, however, the court cut this amount to RUR 20,000 (approx. USD 670)...

YABLOKO made parliaments of Mordovia and Karachayevo-Cherkessia publish draft laws

Press Release, September 7, 2010.

Public Prosecutors of Mordovia and Karachayevo-Cherkessia submitted their orders to the parliaments of these republics requiring them to eliminate violations of the law "On Ensuring Public Access to Information About the Activities of State Bodies". From now on the parliaments of the republics are obliged to publish draft laws at their official websites.

In July, the Yabloko party forwarded to the Public Prosecutor General a list of the 29 regions violating the federal law, which from this year requires from the legislative assemblies to publish the draft laws in the Internet. YABLOKO’s activists say that publication of draft laws "is important for public control over the laws to be adopted"...

YABLOKO conducted a picket in support of deputy of the Tula City Duma

Press Release, September 7, 2010.

YABLOKO conducted a picket by representation of the Tula region in Moscow in support of deputy of the Tula City Duma from the YABLOKO party Vladimir Timakov. A criminal case was filed against Timakov for his criticism of the Governor of the Tula region Vyacheslav Dudka (“The Governor is responsible for the rise of corruption in the region”). It should be noted that, in accordance with Russian law, libel cases may be filed either within the criminal or the civil process. However, all the recent cases against journalists or dissenting people who dared to criticize the officials were raised within criminal process...

Vladimir Timakov is the only politician in the Tula region who dared to criticize the Governor. Timakov laid the blame for record high corruption in the region on Governor Dudka.

Timakov was already found guilty in two civil trials. He was also fined RUR 1.5 mln (approx. USD 500,000) for the moral damage to the Governor. The possessions in the flat where Timakov’s family lives (he has several children) is sequestered for the debt. The list of such property includes a fridge, a washing machine, books, icons, children’s furniture. Timakov also faces up to three years of imprisonment.

Presentation of the book “Yuri Schekochikhin. Three Epochs of Russian Journalism” took place in Moscow

Press Release, September 6, 2010.

The Faculty of Journalism of the Moscow State University (MGU) and the Russian Journalists’ Union invite you to the presentation of the book “Yuri Schekochikhin. Three Epochs of Russian Journalism” (by Mediamir publishing house). The presentation will take place in the Marble Hall of the Central House of Journalist on Friday, September 3, at 5 p.m.

Yuri Schekochikhin, member of the YABLOKO party and MP, was one of the pillars of Russia’s investigative journalism. He was murdered in 2003...

Presentation of the book “Yuri Schekochikhin. Three Epochs of Russian Journalism”

Press Release, September 3, 2010.

The Faculty of Journalism of the Moscow State University (MGU) and the Russian Journalists’ Union invite you to the presentation of the book “Yuri Schekochikhin. Three Epochs of Russian Journalism” (by Mediamir publishing house). The presentation will take place in the Marble Hall of the Central House of Journalist on Friday, September 3, at 5 p.m.

Yuri Schekochikhin, member of the YABLOKO party and MP, was one of the pillars of Russia’s investigative journalism. He was murdered in 2003.

The book contains collection of Yuri Schekochikhin’s articles from Komsomolskaya Pravda (1970s), Literatunaya gazeta (1980s and early 1990s) and Novaya Gazeta (1996-2003). The book will be presented by a legend of Russian journalism, President of the Journalist Faculty of the Moscow State University Yasen Zasursky and Chair of the Journalists’ Union Vsevolod Bogdanov.YABLOKO’s Chair Sergei Mitrokhin, YABLOKO’s founder and member of Political Committee Grigory Yavlinsky, and Executive Secretary of YABLOKO’s Political Committee Galina Mikhaloyva will participate in the presentation.
Address: Arbatskaya metro station, Nikitsky Boulvard 8A

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.

Tula City Duma deputy persecuted for his criticism of the Governor’s work

Statement by the Tula branch of YABLOKO, July 15, 2010.

The Tula regional branch of the YABLOKO party expresses its deep concern with criminal prosecution of deputy of the Tula City Duma from our party Vladimir TImakov [launched under a pretext of a libel case].

Timakov gave his assessment of the Governor’s work at his post.

Actually Timakov’s statements are based on his believes, and, in our view, there are no grounds for criminal prosecution in our opinion no. The fact that the Investigation Committee with the Public Prosecutor's Office in the Tula region three times refused [the Governor] in launching a criminal case for the lack of the elements of crime [in such criticism] is one more proof of this.

In our opinion, this constitutes a demonstrative political "bashing" of a dissenting oppositional politician and journalist so that to force him stop his activities and give up his believes...

Investigation of Yuri Schekochikhin’s death should go on

Statement by the YABLOKO party. July 3, 2010.

July 3 marks seven years since the death of an outstanding journalist and fighter against corruption Yuri Schekochikhin.

On this day the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO considers it necessary to remind to Russia’s leadership that the circumstances of the death of Yuri Schekochikhin have not been determined.

The decision on termination of the investigation adopted by the Investigation Committee of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2009 demonstrates inability or lack of desire of the present Russian state to conduct a full-fledged investigation...

Oppositional journalist’s house burnt in the Saratov region

Press Release, June 17, 2010.

The house of Editor-in-Chief of the Ogni Povolzhiya (Lights of the Volga) newspaper and member of the Regional Council of the Saratov branch of YABLOKO Salimzhan Gaisin was burned on the night of June 15. His daughter and son in law and their two children managed to get out of the burning house. A newly built house and an adjacent old building completely burt out. YABLOKO expresses support of the colleague and considers this accident as obviously of criminal nature.

“We connect this not only with the journalistic activity, but also with a pro-active attitude and human rights activities by Salimzhan Gaisin, who conducted numerous anti-corruption investigations, revealed facts of abuse of power by local officials and identified numerous violations of election law,” runs the statement by the Bureau of the Saratov branch of YABLOKO...

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...

Yekaterinburg Mayor tries to get RUR 600,000 from deputy of the Yekaterinburg Duma Petlin as compensation for criticism

Press Release. May 19, 2010

On May 17 deputy of the Yekaterinburg Duma Maxim Petlin received a notification from one of the district courts of Yekaterinburg that Mayor Chernetsky filed a protest on the court decision on the libel case (case No 2-134). Earlier the court had turned down the libel suit by Mayor Chernetsky to Maxim Petlin and television channel Russia which broadcasted Petlin’s critical statement about the situation with kindergartens in the city. The court also had charged the Mayor RUR 20,000 (about USD 700) for compensation of the legal costs incurred by Maxim Petlin...

Youth YABLOKO conducted a flash mob under the slogan “We Do not Need Such Television!”

May 12, 2010

On May 12, the Youth YABLOKO organisation conducted a flash mob by the Ostankino TV centre under the slogan “We Do not Need Such Television!”

Four young activists brought a TV set to the entrance of Ostankino centre and placards “For the Freedom of Speech!”, “For Independent Media!”. Then young people broke the TV set shouting “Putin, change the format!” and “We are tired of TV brainwashing!”...

On political reprisals against The New Times
Statement of the YABLOKO party, April 15, 2010

The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO expresses its support to The New Times magazine in connection with an attempt of the law enforcement to conduct unlawful inspection of documents in the editing house. We think that these actions represent an act of punitive censorship which has to produce a chilling effect on Russian journalists in case they wish to publish articles inconvenient to top military and police officials.

We hope that this event will not interfere with functioning of the editorial house and conducting of serious journalist investigations by the magazine...

The leader of Sverdlovsk branch of YABLOKO wins the libel case initiated by Yekaterinburg Mayor

Press Release, April 2, 2010

Today, on April 2, Yekaterinburg district court turned down the libel claim motioned by the city Mayor Arkady Chernetsky against deputy of the city Duma and leader of the local branch of YABLOKO Maxim Petlin. The court charged the Mayor RUR 20,000 (about USD 700) for compensation of the legal costs incurred by Maxim Petlin.

Chernetsky started a legal case against Petlin after the latter said in the TV programme that Chernetsky had “sold half of kindergartens buildings”. The Mayor called this phrase a libel and motioned a libel case against Petlin. The second defender in the court was Rossiya television channel which had broadcasted Petlin’s interview and showed an item on alienation of large number of kindergartens in favour of Chernetsky’s family members...

Criminal persecution against three activists of the Youth YABLOKO in Omsk

Press Release. March 19, 2010

Three activists of the Omsk Youth YABLOKO organisation arrested at night of March 18 are have been still detained. The Main Interior Department informs that they are accused of vandalism, however, the local police department which is detaining the activists denies this and promises to release the activists soon.

An annual action in support of freedom of speech in Belarus has been held at night March 18 – 19. This is a part of international campaign European Youth Against the Belarus Dictatorship. The participants of the performance gag statues with banners saying “Freedom to Belarus!”

Omsk YABLOKO activists Anton Zhebrun, Mikhail Maglov and Andrei Yermilov were arrested by police when they were gaging a Dostoyevsky statue. They were escorted to the local police department Centralnoye, where they were kept the whole night without water and food. Anton Zhebrun had a heart attack, the police called an ambulance. However, the policemen did not allow the young people to make calls via their mobile phones...

Governor Gromov motions a libel suit against Sergei Mitrokhin

Press Release, February 1, 2010

Governor of the Moscow Region Boris Gromov motioned a libel suit against YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin who had laid blame for a physical attack on Editor-in-Chief of Khimskinskaya Pravda oppositional paper Mikhail Beketov. The official claims compensation of RUR 500,000 (about USD 16,600) for the moral damage.

Sergei Mitrokhin stated that the party had grounds to think that “Administration of the Khimki city district and personally Head of Administration Strelchenko supported by Governor Gromov are behind this crime” during an action held on November 16, 2009 one year after the attack. A video record of Sergei Mitrokhin’s speech published at YABLOKO’s web-site was used by the Governor as an evidence of libel.

On November 13, 2008, Editor-in-Chief of Khimskinskaya Pravda oppositional paper Mikhail Beketov who had been opposing the construction of a paid highway Moscow – St.Petersburg, was found unconscious in the yard of his house. Doctors stated a severe head injury, multiple factions and injuries. Despite treatment Beketov remains a handicapped – he can not take care of himself and his speech functions have not restored. The action in support of Beketov was held under the slogans “Attack on Beketov Is an Attack on the Freedom of Speech” and “Attack on Beketov Is Political Terror”.

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.

Ekaterinburg’s Mayor suits the leader of the regional YABLOKO branch

Press Release, January 27, 2010

Ekaterinburg’s Mayor Arkady Chernetsky set in motion a lawsuit against deputy of the city Duma and leader of the regional YABLOKO branch Maxim Petlin.

The Mayor began a defamation case stating that Maxim Petlin had libeled against him at TV programme Vesti. The Mayor assessed his moral damage at RUR 600,000 (approximately USD 20,000) which makes 30 per cent of his official annual income amounting to RUR 1,700,000.

“Once Chernetsky sold out half of all the kindergartens buildings in Ekaterinburg,” Petlin said at the Vesti programme. The Mayor considered this statement be a libel.

However, explaining this situation Chernetsky told to the anchor of the Studio 41 TV programme that he had sold “only three kindergartens”. Other had been transferred to different companies and entities “free of charge”.

Assessment of Russia’s Present Political System and the Principles of Its Development. Brief note for the State Council meeting (January 22, 2010) by Dr.Grigory Yavlinsky, member of YABLOKO’s Political Committee. January 22, 2010

...In the absence of serious attention to the raise of political culture and freedom of speech, elections in our country will become a fest of demagogues and populists killing the system.

The main problems and goals of the society and the state in the field of creation of modern political system and political reform do not represent a mere correction, they mean bringing of life and sense into Russian politics.

Only in this case it will be of interest for the people and will be worthy of their attention. To achieve this we should first of all raise the level of public consciousness and open opportunities for public participation in the power and politics.

We think that to prevent dissolution of the Russian political system in 2010 – 2012 we need to undertake the following gradual but nonetheless decisive steps...

Brief Outline of Sergei Mitrokhin’s Report at the State Council meeting

January 22, 2010

The key problem of Russia’s political system is monopolism which manifests itself in three major ways:

1) bodies of power and parliaments of all levels demonstrate monopoly of one party representing the interests of bureaucracy and large-scale business merged with it;
2) complete dominance of the executive over the judicial authority;
3) dictate of one social class – the bureaucracy – over all other social groups.
Thus, the present political system generally reproduces the Soviet system, with its key flaw – the monopoly of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on power.
Such monopoly led to the insensibility of the political system of the USSR to the challenges of the time. Attempts to reform the system were considerably belated and that, consequently, led to a collapse of the USSR.

Member of St.Petersburg YABLOKO branch Ekaterina Kolesova gets Artyom Borovik prize

Press Release, December 1, 2009

Member of St.Petersburg YABLOKO organisation Ekaterina Kolesova was awarded Artyom Borovik prize. This prize is awarded for achievements in the field of independent journalism and journalistic investigations.

Kolesova obtained her prize for the series of articles devoted to journalistic investigations in St.Petersburg’s Novaya Gazeta. “Everyone heard about the Major Yevsyukov case (Ed. the police officer who shot people in a large department store just because he allegedly “felt upset”, the head of the Moscow Police tried to protect Yevsyukov and was dismissed only after loud public discontent), we had had such case as early as in 2001: a policeman shot students”, Kolesova says.

YABLOKO asks the President to preserve the Sport television channel

Press release, November 9, 2009

Two members of the Youth Chamber at the Moscow City Duma – deputy head of the Moscow branch of YABLOKO Ivan Bolshakov and member of the Regional Council Alexander Gnezdilov – forwarded to President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev an address with a request to interfere into the situation around closing of the Sport television channel.

The All-Russia Sate Television and Radio Corporation (VGTRK) adopted a decision to close the nation-wide Sport Channel from January 2010 replacing it by a national TV channel Russiya-2.

Information Services at the Ren-TV and the Fifth television channels should be maintained

Statement of the YABLOKO party, October 23, 2009

The YABLOKO party expresses its concern with the information on liquidation of professional news services of the Ren-TV and the Fifth television channels. We consider maintenance of such services extremely important for the Russian society.

The prospects of liquidation of such services and their subordination to one of the state propaganda factories cause much concern especially in the situation of grave mass-scale election fraud on October 11. The Russian citizens were first deprived of elections and then there were announced plans to deprive them of the television news that could tell the truth about this and other events.

We assess such plans as an attempt to finally oust freedom of speech from the Russian television and introduce total censorship there.

Any references to business motives in elimination of the last independent television news services resemble the argumentation of the “dispute of the economic entities” covering the mopping up of the [independent] NTV channel in 2001.

Rally in memory of Anna Politkovskaya took place in Moscow

Press Release, October 7, 2009

A rally in memory of Anna Politkovskaya, journalist of the oppositional Novaya Gazeta newspaper, gathered about 300 people in Moscow on October 7.

Dmitry Muratov, Editor-in Chief of Novaya Gazeta, told that Muscovites brought many flowers, books, messages to Anna’s tomb. He also paid tribute to the memory of journalists and human rights activists murdered in the past years, as well as those suffering persecutions from the authorities. “I am absolutely sure, that there will come time, when a monument to Natasha Estemirova will be erected in the centre of Grozny, and a monument to Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow,” he said.

Ludmila Alexeyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, thanked all who came to the rally to express their tribute to Anna. “As the killers were not found and were not even condemned by those people who are in power now, it is we who condemn them,” she said.

Sverdlovsk Youth YABLOKO conducted an action in protection of the freedom of speech

Press Release, October 7, 2009

On October 7 Sverdlovsk Youth YABLOKO organisation conducted an action in protection of the freedom of speech. A picket under slogan “Silence! Or you’ll be killed?” was conducted by the regional Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Young YABLOKO’s activists informed the citizens of the situation with the freedom of speech in Russia illustrating it with a leaflet “Their words cost their lives” - a sad list of journalists murdered since 1993.

On the anniversary of the tragic death of Anna Politkvskaya the Youth YABLOKO and Ekaterinburg Memorial branch conducted a memory action paying tribute to Anna.

Action in memory of Anna Politkovskaya took place in Murmansk

Press Release, October 8, 2009

On October 7, activists from the Murmansk branch of YABLOKO conducted a picket in protection of independent media and paying tribute to Anna Politkovskaya murdered three years ago. Representatives of Murmansk youth organisations joined YABLOKO in the picket.

However, it was very difficult to obtain a permission on the picket from the local authorities. Several times the police sent notifications that the action can not be allowed referring to the orders of the Mayor of the city and the local interior head. Finally the authorities had to yield to YABLOKO’s demands and gave the permission for the action.

Youth organisation of YABLOKO to conduct actions in memory of Anna Politkovskaya and for protection of freedom of speech

Press Release, October 6, 2009

On October 7, 2009, it will be three years since death of renowned journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya. Nation-wide actions in memory of Anna Politkovskaya and in protection of freedom of speech will take place on the initiative of the Youth YABLOKO.
YABLOKO’s activists will conduct actions by Public Prosecutor offices in different Russian regions under the slogan “Silence! Or you’ll be killed?” They will distribute leaflets informing on the situation with freedom of speech in Russia and calling to stop and investigate murders of journalists.
Actions in memory of Anna Politkovskaya will take place in different regions. People will light candles and lay flowers to photographs of Anna.

Investigation of the Fact of Censorship to Be Continued
May 27, 2009

Chairman of the YABLOKO party Sergei Mitrokhin received an answer from the Department of the Federal Service for Control in the Field of Mass Communications in the Saratov Region on Mitrokhin’s application asking to give an assessment to the fact when Saratov GTRK television company used shades to conceal YABLOKO’s emblem in its report about YABLOKO’s picketing in support of a director of a television company who had been severely attacked.

Only truth can be set against distortion of history
Press Release, May 27, 2009

A draft statement was submitted by Grigory Yavlinsky with due account of proposals made by Sergei Mitrokhin, Alexei Yablokov, Boris Misnik, Viktor Sheinis and Galina Mikhalyova.

YABLOKO applies to the Public Prosecutor and the Central Electoral Commission on libel in the mass media
Press release, December 1, 2003

...against Leonid Mayevsky who in his comments on the Ekho Moskvi radio station deliberately disseminated false information defaming the leaders and members of YABLOKO.

The State Duma will consider the address to the heads of the First [Television] Channel and VGTRK [television company] on broadcasting live forthcoming parliamentary election debates.
Press release, October 16, 2003

On Thursday the State Duma Council passed a decision to include this item on the Duma agenda. The address was initiated by Sergei Ivanenko and Sergei Mitrokhin.

YABLOKO opposes transformation of the TVS channel into a state-owned company
Press release, April 16, 2003

Such a step will lead to a monopoly on the information transmitted to Russia’s citizens. It is especially dangerous on the threshold of the parliamentary and presidential elections, when television is transformed into the main source of information on the competing political forces.

Chairman of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO Grigory Yavlinsky thinks that the President of Russia Vladimir Putin "took absolutely the right decision", vetoing the amendments to the law "On the Mass Media" that imposed constraints on journalists reporting on the emergencies. "This is an independent and absolutely correct decision," said Yavlinsky.
Press Release, November 25, 2002

At the same time Yavlinsky stressed that "the issue of fighting for the freedom of speech is not over yet, and much work lies ahead." Speaking about subsequent work on amendments in the conciliatory commission, the leader of YABLOKO told journalists that "we shall do all we can to ensure that the most odious provisions are removed from the draft law."


The faction considers the cuts made to the "Freedom of Speech" programme (the NTV channel) for a broadcast on December 27, 2002, to be manifestation of political censorship.
Press Release, December 28, 2002

The faction considers the cuts made to the "Freedom of Speech" programme (the NTV channel) for a broadcast on December 27, 2002, to be manifestation of political censorship. Fragments containing criticism of the government's actions and pro-governmental factions of the State Duma made by Chairman of the Duma Committee for Education and Science and member of the YABLOKO faction Alexander Shishlov were cut out of the programme.


Deputy of the Duma Sergei Mitrokhin: the amendments to the law "On the Mass Media" are an instrument to be used to suppress disobedient media
Press Release, November 1, 2002

Deputy of the Duma Sergei Mitrokhin considers the adoption by the State Duma in the third reading of the amendments to the law "On the Mass Media" on November 1, 2002, represents an attempt to restrict freedom of speech. According to the new version of the law, journalist rights to report on the anti-terror operations conducted by the Russian authorities have to a large extent been curtailed.


Deputy of the State Duma Valery Ostanin: the theatre cannot be stored, as there are hundreds of hostages
Press Release, October 24, 2002
The theatre cannot be stormed, as there are hundreds of hostages says deputy of the State Duma and member of the Security Committee of the State Duma Valery Ostanin. According to Ostanin, a careful "jeweller's operation" is required here, as the lives of many people now depend on the professionalism of the security services.


The court has satisfied the libel suit filed by the leader of the YABLOKO party Grigory Yavlinsky against APN Agency of Political News
Press Release July 10, 2002
Zamoskvoretsky Intermunicipal Court of Moscow satisfied the libel suit filed by the Chairman of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO Grigory Yavlinsky against the Internet Agency of Political News (APN).


The court recognised the information spread by the Noviy Peterburg newspaper about Grigory Yavlinsky and YABLOKO to be libel
Press Release July 3, 2002

Dzerzhinsky Federal Court of the Central District of St.Petersburg satisfied the libel action filed by the Chairman of the Russian democratic Party YABLOKO Grigory Yavlinsky against the Noviy Peterburg newspaper.


YABLOKO leader doubts the accuracy of public opinion poll on introducing censorship in the media
Press Release, May 30, 2002
Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the YABLOKO party, is against the introduction of political censorship in the media and stamps as "distorted" the data of a recent public opinion poll on introducing censorship.


The State Duma continues its onslaught on the freedom of the press
Press Release, April 3, 2002
On April 3 2002 the State Duma adopted at second reading a draft law on additions and amendments to the law "On the Mass Media" by 251 votes (against a required minimum of 226 votes).


Roll-call Voting in the State Duma for adoption of the federal law "On Addenda and Amendments to the Law of the RF"On the Mass Media" (regarding the regulations of the names of the media). Second reading.
April 3, 2002
Submitted by: deputies of the State Duma N.I. Bulayev, K.V. Vyetrov, P.I. Kovalyenko, V.Ya. Komissarov, I.V. Lyebedyev, B.L. Reznik


Roll-call Voting in the State Duma for adoption of the federal law "On Addenda and Amendments to the Law of the RF "On the Mass Media" (regarding the regulations of the names of the media). Third reading.
April 5, 2002


Judicial reprisal against Novaya Gazeta newspaper represents another stage of the onslaught against the free mass media
Press Release, March 6, 2002
"The decisions made over the past week at Basmanny Intermunicipal Court of Moscow to satisfy the USD 1.5 million demands of the plaintiffs against Novaya Gazeta is a convenient way of closing a disturbing newspaper." This was the statement of Sergei Mitrokhin, deputy of the State Duma from the Yabloko faction and Deputy Chairman of the YABLOKO party on the situation around Novaya Gazeta.


All-Russia Democratic Assembly 3rd meeting
Declaration on Freedom of Speech, February 18, 2002
The All-Russia Democratic Assembly states absence of freedom of speech in Russia.


The Democratic Assembly will discuss freedom of speech in Russia in January 2002
Press release, December 03, 2001
The discussion of freedom of speech in Russia will be the main topic of the All-Russia Democratic Assembly that will meet in Moscow in the second half of January 2002.


Sergei Ivanenko advocates revocation of one of the norms of the Russian bankruptcy law
Press release, November 27, 2001
"Since January 1 we in the State Duma repeal the provision in the law which stipulates that minority shareholders may propose the liquidation of a company," noted Ivanenko on Tuesday 27, 2001 in an interview with the NTV channel.


Sergei Ivanenko sharply criticises the situation around the TV-6 channel
Press release, November 27, 2001
“I think this represents a continuation of the policies aimed at depriving our society of the chance to receive independent information,” said Sergei Ivanenko in an interview with journalists on Tuesday November 27, 2001.


On Monday October 22, 2001, a ceremony of granting awards to the winners and laureates of the All-Russia Contest of Regional Journalists "Against All Odds" took place in Moscow
Press release, October 22, 2001


The leaders of the SPS and Yabloko advocate strengthening privately-owned mass media

Press Release, May 3, 2001

The leaders of the right-wing factions of the State Duma (the SPS and Yabloko) noted that the release by the International Committee for Protection of Journalists of a list of the leaders of states regarded as opponents of mass media on the International Day of a Free Press (on May 3) had a negative impact for Russia.


Sergei Mitrokhin: a sad anniversary – 10 years since establishing of state control over the private NTV television channel. April 14, 2011.

Ten years have passed since ruining of the private independent television channel and dissolution of the team of 1journalists who had been showing to the country every day how important the profession of a journalist is for the society and freedom of speech. On April 14, 2001, the management of the NTV channel was completely changed. And virtually from this moment censorship has been widely exercised in Russia...

See also: the NTV case

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.


LI President: "Now it is time to give Ouattara and the Ivoirians chance to rebuild their country"
Van Baalen: “The [Arab] democrats should be supported without red tape – now”
Sam Rainsy meets with liberals across Scandinavia
“The DA gets rid of corrupt politicians”, Zille tells voters in Johannesburg
Ignatieff impresses after English/French Debates
ALDE-PACE: Religious dimension of intercultural dialogue debated in Strasbourg

Yabloko condemns attack on Russian journalist

Liberal International News Bulletin. Issue 209. November 18, 2010.
After Russian journalist for the Kommersant newspaper, Oleg Kashin was severely beaten outside his home in Moscow on 6 November, LI full member YABLOKO has issued a press statement condemning the attacks and demanding that authorities launch investigations into the attack: “The YABLOKO party states that it is ready to participate in an independent investigation of the circumstances of this crime and render all possible assistance as well as human and organizational resources to Editor-in-Chief Mikhail Mikhailin and the team of the Kommersant paper.” YABLOKO leaders also picketed outside the Moscow Interior Office with other journalists and political activists to demand investigative action. Mr. Kashin's editor said that the attacks were retribution for articles he had recently written covering anti-Kremlin protests and extremist rallies against the building of a highway through Khimki forest outside Moscow which has now been put on hold by the government. Attacks on journalists are not uncommon in Russia. Human rights groups say there have been 19 unsolved murders of journalists since 2000 and that investigations into attacks lead nowhere.


185th LI Executive Committee meets in Cape Town
LI President meets with representatives of the Democratic Party of Japan
Africa Liberal Network holds General Assembly
Released opposition leader calls for change in Burma
Tim Farron elected LibDem Party President
Congolese UREC and ANADER sign alliance agreement
British author jailed in Singapore for defamation
ALDE calls on Lithuanian authorities to respect freedom of expression and assembly

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...

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...

Journalist and YABLOKO member Yuri Schekochikhin would have turned 60 today…

Grigory Yavlinsky’s letter to Vsevolod Bogdanov, Chair of Russia’s Journalists Union, June 9, 2010.

Yuri Schekochikhin is an event in the lives of all of us, an event both in our journalism and in politics. Whatever he did - wrote play scripts, engaged in journalist investigation or worked as a Russian parliament member – all was very different from how other people did this, all had an imprint of his personality, talent and his understanding of freedom and justice.

Yuri Petrovich was not merely a politician in the ordinary sense or the word, he understood life as the one who had the ability to transform it. A special atmosphere always emerged around him, and there was place for different people by his side. And he still unites us all, we do not simply keep memories of him, but feel his presence in our life.

Yuri Schekochikhin has always been and remains our friend.

Grigory Yavlinsky

YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin sharply criticises the campaign launched by the Nashi movement against journalist Alexander Podrabinek

Interfax, October 1, 2009

Leader of the YABLOKO party Sergei Mitrokhin sharply criticized the actions of the Nashi movement against journalist and human rights activist Alexander Podrabinek.
“Mobbing of Alexander Podrabinek organized by the Nashi movement and accompanied by bullying calls that he should leave Russia is disgusting, and considering the present Russian situation is even dangerous,” Sergei Mitrokhin told Interfax on Thursday.
According to Mitrokhin, “a broad-scale hatred campaign was organised against a citizen of Russia.”

On infringement of freedom of speech in the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia

Statement of the Karachayevo-Cherkessian branch of the YABLOKO party, September 11, 2009

Everywhere and everyday, almost every hour speakers from television screens assure Russian citizens that freedom of press and freedom to speak openly without fear is the greatest achievement of democracy. And they say that in the sake of this freedom we should endure everything: growth of food-stuffs prices, skyrocketing communal services tariffs, rise of unemployment, growth of crime, as well as drug and alcohol addiction. However, where is the freedom which costs us so much?

The recent developments around official printed media in Karachayevo-Cherkessia demonstrate that we don’t have freedom of press in our Republic and are unlikely to have it until the governments realise that newspapers and other media are not a toy.

Ilya Klebanov Have to Resign
Statement. June 4, 2009

The Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO finds the statement of Presidential Envoy in the Northwestern Federal District Ilya Klebanov when he addressed journalist Alexei Makhlov incompatible with his high post.

Accusations against organisers of the exhibition “Prohibited Art – 2006 ” represent a recurrence of Stalinism
Statement , May 29, 2009

YABLOKO is calling to stop criminal action against Yuri Samodurov, Director of the Sakharov Centre, and Andrei Yerofeyev, fines art expert. Accusations in arousing hatred and religious strife for organisation of a fine arts exhibition are not merely absurd, but even dangerous in the 21st century.

On the murder of journalist Paul Khlebnikov
The Russian Democratic Party "YABLOKO", Statement, July 12, 2004

The Russian Democratic Party "YABLOKO" expresses its condolences to the family and friends of journalist Paul Khlebnikov who was murdered by contract killers in Moscow.
We demand a rapid and effective investigation of this crime by the authorities and that its executors and people behind the attack be found and punished.

On the closure of the programme "Svoboda Slova" or "Freedom of speech" on NTV
The Russian Democratic Party "YABLOKO", Statement, Press service, Jule 8, 2004

The Russian Democratic Party "YABLOKO" considers creeping reduction in freedom of speech in Russia an attempt to undermine one of the fundamental tenets of the Constitution and declares its determination to counteract the introduction of censorship in the domestic mass media.

On the closure of the NTV correspondents' office in Belarus
Statement, The Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO, July 8, 2003

The closure of the NTV television company correspondents' office in Belarus represents not only an action targeted at information isolation of the people of Belarus, but also another challenge to Russia from Lukashenko's regime.

YABLOKO opposes the election campaign repressions introduced by the Central Electoral Commission
The Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, The State Duma of the Russian Federation, The YABLOKO faction, March 21, 2003
Honest elections are threatened by arbitrary rule of the authorities rather than the work of journalists. Mass media reports on election campaign outside of propaganda materials represent the most important tool ensuring public control over the actions of bureaucracy.

On the Threat to Freedom of Speech in Russia
Statement of the Bureau of the Federal Council of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO on February 22, 2003.

Violent acts starting in the country in 2000, the use of the law enforcement agencies as a means to pressurise journalists and media owners, selective application of the law, persecution of the opponents in state-controlled media led to the launch of self-censorship of the media owners which results in tough censorship of journalists.

The Changing Nature of Covering the News
The Moscow Times, September 7, 2004

As a class, information-sharing Duma deputies have largely been pushed out. They were important because their status as a federal official gave them access to official information otherwise out of reach for the public or the press. Now Putin has a largely rubber-stamp parliament that rarely raises its voice.

Deputy Head of the YABLOKO party Sergei Mitrokhin perceives political motives behind the criminal case against the former heads of the Noviye Izvestia newspaper
Ekho Moskvi, August 17, 2004

"We live de facto in a state governed by the secret services. In the given situation, in view of recent developments, in particular, the extremely harsh sentence given to Igor Sutyagin, we cannot trust any criminal trial against any politician or editor of an independent media, or individual who expresses views which differ from those of the authorities," noted Mitrokhin.

Russian Journalism in Search of Professional Ethics
Moscow. (RIA Novosti political commentator Vladimir Simonov), RIA Novosti, August 6, 2004

It seems that following the downfall of the Soviet state, the Russian media community did a deal with Mrs Corruption. And she is aggressively driving out honest journalism as it tries to remain faithful to ethical norms.

"Editor-in-Chief Should Be Branded!" Deputies Decided to Re-Educate Journalists
By Suzanna Farizova, Kommersant, August 3, 2004

The discussion of issues of journalists' ethics almost developed into a brawl but the participants were able to control themselves in time. The session resulted in a recommendation to journalists that they step up responsibility "within the creative collectives."

The Russian Union of Journalists attacks Russian government's record on media freedom
Ekho Moskvi, August 4, 2004

"Over the last four years, various officials, starting from the top, have constantly said that journalists are to blame for everything."

Russia's State TV Is Mopping up Some Terminology
By Sergey Varshavchik, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 2, 2004

It is prohibited to pronounce during broadcasting "Chechnya" (only "the Chechen republic") and "Kadyrov" (should be pronounced only "Akhmad-Khadzhi Kadyrov") and not "replacement of benefits by money" but "monetised benefits", and not "shahid" but a "shahid belt".
Viktoriya Arutyunova, Adviser to the Chairman of VGTRK [All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company], commented on the situation for Nezavisimaya Gazeta...

A piquet of YABLOKO's youth organisation broken at Lubyanka square
Gazeta.ru, July 27, 2004; 12:07

Within 30 seconds the militia detained 10 participants of the action pushing them onto the ground and twisting their hands. According to the leader of the movement Ilya Yashin, the detained activists were taken to the FSB office.
The militia also detained ten journalists and confiscated films from their cameras.

It is time for Putin to make up his mind
A complete version of Grigory Yavlinsky's article published in an abbreviated version in "Forbes", No. 4, July 2004

If you open the newspapers, what are the economic topics in the headings? Tax problems, social privileges, GNP rates. However, everybody knows that you can improve the tax system indefinitely, develop new forms of mortgages and "mop up" banks, but all other measures are pointless until you resolve once and for all, clearly and unequivocally property issues. A political and legal estimate of privatisation in the mid-1990s is the main economic issue today. President Putin should finally make up his mind. Otherwise nothing will be achieved.

Boris Berezovsky: I Prefer Nabokov to Klebnikov
An interview with Boris Berezovsky by Yefim Barban, MN staff writer, MosNews, July 16, 2004

"To be more specific, the murder was the result of a redistribution of property which is always fraught with a growing crime rate. Klebnikov wanted, in his own manner and quite professionally, I believe, to look into the developments going on in Russia. Of course, those who initiated the redistribution of property were not happy about it."

Commentary: A Possible Link Between The Klebnikov And Shchekochikhin Murders?
By Andrei Piontkovsky, The Jamestown Foundation - Eurasia Daily Monitor, July 17, 2004

In the months before his death, Shchekochikhin was deep into an investigation of the furniture-store chain Tri Kita (Three Whales), which he revealed to be controlled by Russian security officials. High-ranking Federal Security Service (FSB) generals used the chain to launder tens of millions of dollars, and their activities extended to the now infamous Bank of New York, which has been implicated in other schemes.
Klebnikov launched the Russian edition of Forbes magazine with a sensational debut issue featuring the "100 richest people in Russia." This was actually a rather dry reiteration of the biographies of the owners of Russia. However, it dealt a potentially fatal blow to the myth widely held both in Russia and the West that Putin's reign has been characterized by the Kremlin's struggle against Russian's oligarchic capitalism.

Letter to foreign journalists working in Russia
Grigory Yavlinsky, www.yavlinsky.ru, July 15, 2004

Paul Khlebnikov was a fearless man. He loved Russia and believed in its bright and fair future. However, he mistakenly believed that this future had already arrived. Please accept my deep condolences concerning the death of your comrade.

Journalist Watchdog Urges Putin to Investigate Klebnikov Murder
MosNews, July 16, 2004

"This culture of impunity sends a shocking message to the world about your indifference to press freedom, and reassures those who use violence to silence their critics that they can literally get away with murder," Executive Director Ann Cooper said in her letter to Putin.

No Unauthorized Access
MosNews, July 13, 2004

Paul Klebnikov worked in a field where access is out of the question for his Russian colleagues. In the form of journalistic investigations he presented to the outer world unofficial data on the relationship between major Russian businesses and the authorities, on the actual procedures in accordance with which property is re-distributed and big money is made in the country. In other words, he was breaking taboos.

A Victim of the Rule of Lawlessness
Editorial, The Moscow Times, July 13, 2004

Perhaps we have become too used to the idea that businessmen need bodyguards, and that those who step on the toes of business interests, be they government officials or journalists, are occasionally gunned down in the streets.

Klebnikov Case Given High Priority
By Valeria Korchagina, The Moscow Times, July 13, 2004

"Paul Klebnikov's background and interests ideally suited him to the task of explaining Russia to Americans and vice versa," the statement said. "He was a person who tried to take the best American values -- fair play, equality and openness -- and apply them in Russia, a country that he loved."

American editor of Russian Forbes magazine killed
Gazeta.ru, July 12, 2004

Paul Khlebnikov, 41, had walked out of his office late on Friday in northeastern Moscow when a car pulled up and several shots were fired. He died on his way to hospital.

Investigators Find Gunmen's Vehicle
By Carl Schreck, The Moscow Times, July 12, 2004

Investigators said they have recovered the car from which Forbes Russia editor Paul Klebnikov was shot and killed Friday night, but there was no word that any suspects had been detained as of Sunday evening.

Forbes Editor Klebnikov Shot Dead
By Valeria Korchagina, The Moscow Times, July 12, 2004

In the first high-profile murder of a Western journalist in Russia, Paul Klebnikov, the American editor of the new Russian edition of Forbes magazine who for years has relentlessly investigated the dealings of Russia's rich and powerful, was shot dead after leaving work Friday evening.

All Eyes on What May Be Shuster's Last Show
By Caroline McGregor, The Moscow Times, July 9, 2004

"Svoboda Slova," one of NTV's most popular programs and the only political talk show on Russian television that is broadcast live, will air at 7:35 p.m. Friday in what is widely expected to be its final show.

NTV to Abandon 'Freedom of Speech'
By Caroline McGregor, The Moscow Times, July 8, 2004

"Svoboda Slova," or "Freedom of Speech," is perhaps the only remaining program on Russian television that promotes political debate and allows more or less unrestricted criticism of the Kremlin.

Russian Saint
By Alexander Osipovich, The Moscow Times, July 2, 2004

"But this wasn't noticeable, because, as Andrei Voznesensky formulates it so precisely, he was a Russian saint: drinking, slovenly, jovial, with a broken destiny and without the slightest hint of a halo."

Cracking Down on the Web
By Boris Kagarlitsky, Moscow Times, June 11, 2004

The Internet has long been a headache for those that wish to uphold public decency. Controlling the enormous flow of information on the net, chopping, spiking or "correcting" the innumerable texts and images lodged on the web is surely the dream of any censor.

Griogry Yavlinsky: All the bright journalists have been shut up in Russia
Rosbalt, June 8, 2004

Yavlinsky is certain that the authorities should be criticised, “but there should be no insulting.” “And in general one should not insult any one, either the authorities, the public or people in jail,” noted Yavlinsky.

The Skinny on Campaign Election Coverage
By Alexei Pankin, The Moscow Times, June 8, 2004

In May and June 1996, I served as coordinator of a program devoted to monitoring press coverage of the presidential election... ...After the first week of monitoring, our observers released a report demonstrating that all of the major television stations, both state-owned and independent, were actively promoting the incumbent Boris Yeltsin and giving short shrift to his rivals, including Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky.

The TV Might as Well Stay Switched off
By Ilya Zhegulyov, Gazeta.ru, June 2, 2004

NTV's move to sack Leonid Parfyonov and close his flagship weekly Namedni review program is politically motivated, Russian politicians, political observers and human rights champions are convinced. Some of them interviewed by Gazeta.Ru believe that with Parfyonov's departure the NTV team of journalists is likely to fall apart.

The Media and Terrorism
By Alexander Alekseev, Rosbalt Information Agency, Translated by David M. Rosbalt, June 6, 2004

It is often said the mass media plays into the hands of terrorists, covering in detail their acts of terrorism. On the other hand, informational limitations can turn into a complete absence of reliable information and a loss of the media's independence.

NTV Sends Parfyonov Packing
By Caroline McGregor, The Moscow Times, June 3, 2004

Parfyonov was fired for breaking his contract, which required him to "support the policies of the company's leadership," according to the statement signed by NTV general director Nikolai Senkevich.

NTV fires anchorman Parfyonov over censorship row
Gazeta.ru, June 2, 2004

The move comes just one day after Parfyonov aired an interview with the widow of a former Chechen rebel leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, violating orders from the channel's management. Russian Special Forces had reportedly ordered NTV's deputy director Alexander Gerasimov not to air the interview, Russian media reported.

Russia - 2004 Annual report
Reporters Without Borders, The 2003 Global Press Freedom World Tour

Russia saw a further deterioration in press freedom in 2003. The authorities exploited the public media during legislative elections and obstructed free coverage of the campaign to guarantee victory, particularly in some republics in the Caucuses. A journalist was kidnapped in Chechnya and another was sentenced to a prison term for defamation.

Russian Journalists: "Inner Slave" Restricting Press Freedom
MosNews.com, April 29, 2004

The U.S.-based human rights organization Freedom Watch released a study document on the decline in press freedom in many countries including Russia in 2003. According to the study, after being downgraded from Partly Free to Not be Free in 2002, Russia continued on its course of restricting press freedoms.

Ombudsman Will Help the Novoye Vremya Magazine
Korpunkt.ru, March 25, 2004

"I aim to do all I can to ensure that this magazine which is the face of Moscow is published again."

The State and Television
By Yevgeni Kiselyov, Editor-in-Chief of Moskovskiye Novosti (Moscow News) weekly, MosNews.com, April 16, 2004

Three years ago, when many of my friends and I said that developments at NTV represented the start of an attack on democratic rights and freedoms, including freedom of the press, nobody believed us. We were mocked, sometimes very crudely and cynically.

I Am Back Where I Belong
By Yevgenia Albats, The Moscow Times, April 12, 2004

The State Duma has given initial approval to a bill that would severely restrict the right of assembly. Shortly after the Duma vote, the Moscow city government denied the Yabloko party a permit for a May Day demonstration in downtown Moscow. And finally, the Moscow City Court convicted arms control researcher Igor Sutyagin of treason and sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

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.

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.

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.

A"managed democracy" does not need free media they are only a hindrance
By Viktor Sheinis
Kreml.org, March 14, 2004
The problem is that "managed democracy" does not need free media, they are only a hindrance. That is why a policy of stifling the free mass media has been adopted. In the present situation among television channels, and to a lesser degree radio and newspapers, only those controlled by the authorities are really functioning. We witnessed the demolition of two independent television companies, one by one.


Deadly costs of journalism
By Seamus Martin, Baltimore Sun, December 15, 2003

While conspiracy theories abound in Russia, it is not difficult to understand the suspicions about Shchekochikhin's death. Strange things have happened to journalists from Novaya Gazeta and members and supporters of Yabloko.

Television Newscasts Give Kremlin a Boost
By Anna Dolgov, The Moscow Times, December 5, 2003

President Vladimir Putin has said on a number of occasions that he would like to see United Russia win the Duma elections, and praised the party again in a lengthy interview that aired on all three main channels last Friday.

Are Mass Media Free in Russia?
By Vitali Tretyakov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, November 19, 2003

First of all we need to specify one of the key notions - the matter under discussion here concerns freedom of the press (freedom to relate various facts and opinions in the media) and not freedom of speech.

Russian journalists to list would-be MPs according to their stance on media freedom
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, November 12, 2003

A long-forgotten word from the Soviet era was revived yesterday: nakaz or "wish list".

Wealth: wild card in Russian election
By Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor, November 13, 2003

"Previously hidden conflicts have emerged into the open, and now there is a real issue to fight the election on: Will Russia slide back into a police state or turn decisively toward the European model of democracy and human rights."

Court Frees Up Election Coverage
By Caroline McGregor, The Moscow Times, October 31, 2003

The Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled as unconstitutional one part of the law that restricts media coverage of election campaigns, and in doing so, gave journalists more room to do their jobs, critics of the law said.

Constitutional Court To Decide Freedom of Speech Issue
By Dmitry Chirkin, pravda.ru, October 17, 2003

The founder of scientific socialism used to say: "History repeats itself twice: first as a tragedy, and then as farce." For the sixth or 56th time, history repeats itself as unbelievable marasm.

Live TV debates cause first election scuffle
By Ksenia Solyanskaya, Gazeta.ru, October 17, 2003

On Friday, the State Duma’s deputies are to review the draft address to the management of two leading state-run television networks, Channel One, and Rossia, with the request to broadcast election debates live.

Russia: Constitutional Court Hears First Cases On Controversial New Media Law
By Sophie Lambroschini, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, October 15, 2003

In a surprise decision, Russia's Constitutional Court has agreed to hear four different appeals against the new legislation brought by three journalists and more than 100 State Duma deputies.

Courageous Pen
Transcript by Nadezhda Prusenkova, Novaya Gazeta, October 13, 2003

The more principles a person has in life, the more obstacles and problems there are in his life and the more strength he needs not to break down.

Stick Without a Carrot
By Daria Gusyeva and Maksim Balutenko, Vremya Novostei, October 2, 2003

The Monitoring Council for the election campaign is not functioning yet, but some political parties are on the verge of recalling their representatives from this structure.

Russian media warned under strict new law
By Nick Paton Walsh, The Guardian (UK), October 2, 2003

The weekly magazines Kommersant Vlast and Tverskaya 13 were both served with warnings this week after they published articles about the Moscow mayoral election.

United Russia Conquers the Air
By Anna Dolgov, The Moscow Times, September 24, 2003

The pro-Kremlin United Russia party is getting by far the widest and most favorable coverage on all the major television channels ahead of parliamentary elections, monitoring conducted by The Moscow Times over the past week indicates.

100 Deputies Challenge Media Restrictions
By Francesca Mereu, The Moscow Times, September 24, 2003

"We think that they are against the Russian Constitution, which guarantees freedom in spreading information," deputy SPS leader Alexander Barannikov said Tuesday.

Can Media Cover the Elections?
Editorial, The Moscow Times, September 12, 2003

Presumably, the Kremlin did not shepherd the new legislation through parliament in order for it to trip up the president or silence two of the Kremlin's most important propaganda organs.

'Meet the press' in Russia meets the new censor
By Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor, September 16, 2003

It smacks strongly of Soviet times - except that today's censors are not Communist Party hacks planted in editorial offices, but the managers of media outlets themselves.

Press freedom list: Russia ranked 121st out of 139
rbc.ru, September 10, 2003

North Korea is at the bottom of the list, as the country with least press freedom, and China is ranked 138th. The United States, which always boasts about its democratic traditions, ranks 17th.

Putin puts 'Soviet' bar on poll coverage
Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow, Guardian Unlimited, September 9, 2003

The Kremlin has introduced a draconian election law which threatens the media with closure if they give details of candidates' personal lives or analyse their policies.

Media law changes provoke concern about press freedom
BBC Monitoring, August 8, 2003

Many in the media and political establishment view the changes as a rollback of a decade of media freedoms and a threat to free speech and free elections, particularly in the regions.

Press Ministry Pulls the Plug on TVS
By Anna Dolgov, The Moscow Times, June 23, 2003

TVS was the last private national channel, and its closure gives the Kremlin a monopoly on the airwaves ahead of December's parliamentary elections and the March presidential vote.

Silence of the Lambs
Vremya MN, June 19, 2003

In other words, the majority of the lower house voted to remove citizens of Russia and the media from the election process. No more free and democratic elections in Russia.

Special Regime for Media
By Olga Redichkina and Alexei Redichkin, Gazeta, June 16, 2003

...according to the amendments, any media outlet - print or electronic media - can be shut down during an election campaign if the court finds it guilty of violating electoral legislation twice. The draft law contained no list of violations, thereby leaving it up to the court to decide each case "on the spot" every time.

To the 50th Anniversary of Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty
Address by Grigory Yavlinsky to the conference devoted to the 50th Anniversary of Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty conducted in Prague, on June 6, 2003

It would not be an overstatement to say that RFE/RL is the most reliable source of objective political information about world events and, even more importantly, Russian politics.

Russian journalists pessimistic about media developments in the country
TVS television channel, May 16, 2003

The vulnerability of journalists as well as of other owners of media agencies that critcise the authorities was identified as the main problem at the congress today.

Veshnyakov: Freedom of Speech in a Labyrinth
Interview with Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission Alexander Veshnyakov By Anna Feofilaktova, Moskovsky Komsomolets, April 25, 2003

Russia's journalists are in a panic: fairly soon, the sight of newspapers or televisions being shut down could become commonplace. The Central Electoral Commission (CEC), the Media Ministry and finally the courts would merely have to decide whether journalists were not objective in their coverage of a certain presidential or parliamentary candidate or were praising another candidate too much.

A Nightmare for Journalists
By Marina Ozerova and Liuba Shariy, Moskovsky Komsomolets, March 28, 2003

Sure, one may say: don't break the rules, and everything will be okay. Yet our laws are written to permit two or three possible interpretation of their meaning. Meanwhile, unfortunately, one cannot rely on the Russian courts as the most humane and independent courts in the world.

Duma Eyes Election Violations
By Nabi Abdullaev, The Moscow Times, March 26, 2003

With parliamentary and presidential elections looming, the State Duma passed in the first reading Friday a raft of amendments that toughen penalties for electoral violations by individuals and the media.

Duma to silence mass media before elections
By Marina Sokolovskaya, Natalia Rostova, gazeta.ru, March 24, 2003

The State Duma has given initial approval to a presidential draft law that makes amendments to legislation governing the activity of media outlets during election campaigns. The deputies, however, have ignored the concerns expressed by the media over the draft law.

Russia Fares Badly in Press Freedom Rankings
Rosbalt, March 17, 2003

Finland, Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands are the countries with the highest levels of press freedom. This conclusion was reached by the Reporters sans Frontieres (Reporters without Frontiers) charity, which today published a press freedom index on its website.

The Internet-press to be closed in Karelia
"Web-planeta", February 27, 2003

Head of the Centre for Political and Social Studies of Karelia Anatoli Tzigankov said that the closing on February 12, 2002, of the web-site Politika.Karelia.Ru represents "fight against independent opinions".

YABLOKO: freedom of speech in Russia's media is shrinking like shagreen leather
Rosbalt, February 25, 2003

The Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO considers protection of freedom of speech a political priority and a key task for all democratic forces and therefore calls on all democratic forces in the country to unite, in order to oppose further attacks on freedom of speech.


Media freedom under threat, states Russian opposition party
Interfax, February 25, 2003

Moscow, 25 February: The Russian democratic party Yabloko has said that "The freedom of the media in Russia is in danger".

Open Letter, January 16, 2003
Most respected Mr. President,

We are concerned about developments in the Republic of Belarus concerning Russian media. Broadcasts of Mayak (Ed. "Beacon"), Yunost (Ed. "Youth"), and Golos Rossii (Ed. "Voice of Russia") that have for many years constituted a key source of information for the citizens of Belarus, have been closed.


Putin Vetoes Media Curbs
The Moscow Times, By Andrei Zolotov Jr., November 26, 2002.

Meeting with a select group of media managers, President Vladimir Putin announced Monday evening that he had heeded their plea and vetoed the restrictive amendments to the laws on media and terrorism.


Putin Urged to Reject Law Amendments
Assoicated Press, By Eric Engleman, November 20, 2002

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's leading news organizations, including state television, urged President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday to reject tough new restrictions on terrorism coverage adopted by parliament following the Moscow theater siege.


Free-speech advocates urge Putin not to sign anti-terrorism legislation that limits media's rights
Associated Press, By Sarah Karush, November 14, 2002
MOSCOW - Anti-terrorism legislation passed by Russia's upper house of parliament this week threatens to unravel Russia's fragile democracy if it is signed into law, liberal lawmakers and free speech advocates said Thursday.


Russia's upper house of parliament approves restrictive media amendments
Associated Press, By Steve Gutterman, November 13, 2002

MOSCOW - Russia's upper house of parliament on Wednesday approved new amendments to the media law, paving the way for presidential approval of legislation that would severely curb news coverage of anti-terrorist operations and prohibit the media from carrying rebel statements.


Putin Was Advised to Pardon the Press
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, By Lidia Andrusenko and Ivan Rodin, November 21, 2002

Next week Vladimir Putin must sign amendments to the law on the media passed by the Duma and approved by the Federation Council. Or veto this bill which, corrected by the deputies and senators, imposes considerable restraints on a journalist’s freedom of speech. The President has to make a difficult choice: either to appear before the public (especially Western) as the head of state who actually introduced censorship in the country, or remain a democrat in spite of everything...


YABLOKO holds demonstration near the Federation Council
Gazeta.ru, November 13, 2002

Existing economic mechanisms only achieve the very narrow goal of maintaining the present The The Moscow police breaks up small demonstration by YABLOKO activists against the amendments to the law on the mass media.


Paper Survives Threats, Murder, Success
Vladimir Filonov The Moscow Times, By Natalia Yefimova, November 14, 2002

ELISTA, Kalmykia -- For a tiny opposition newspaper in an autocratic republic, Sovietskaya Kalmykia Segodnya has survived a great deal: a shutout by local printers and distributors, threats, arson and, most harrowing of all, the brutal murder in 1998 of editor Larisa Yudina.


Russian media. Opposition voice concern over reporting restrictions
AFP, November 13, 2002

Russian media and opposition members voiced concern Wednesday after the upper house approved a controversial amendment on media laws that would severely restrict the freedom of the press to cover anti-terrorist operations.


Russian Lawmakers OK Media Limits
Associated Press, By Steve Gutterman, November 13, 2002

MOSCOW (AP) - Russian lawmakers approved media law amendments Wednesday that critics charge would severely curb coverage of anti-terrorist operations and prohibit news outlets from carrying rebel statements. Presidential approval is still needed to make the changes law.


Duma Votes to Limit News Coverage
The Moscow Times, By Natalia Yefimova, November 4, 2002
MOSCOW, Sept. 27 - Energy executives and government officials from Russia and the United States will meet in Houston next week to discuss energy cooperation at a time when concerns FSB officers taking away a computer Friday from the office of Versia, which was preparing an account of the hostage crisis.


Mystery Proposal Could Subjugate Minatom to Three Government Bodies Lawmakers say report had president`s "full attention"
Bellona Group, Norway. By Charles Digges. 30 July 2002

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering a document delivered to him by Yabloko Party leader Grigory Yavlinsky, outlining a plan that would subjugate the monolithic Nuclear Power Ministry, or Minatom, to three government bodies, stripping away the Stalinesque opacity that helped drive the arms race and continues to shroud its civilian pursuits in secrecy.


Yavlinsky Wins Suit Against St. Petersburg Paper
Radio Liberty. Media Matters. 23 August, 2002.


Russian author refuses to answer police questions in pornography case that has raised fears of censorship
Associated Press, By ERIC ENGLEMAN, July 29, 2002
MOSCOW - An iconoclastic Russian writer under investigation for disseminating pornography in his novel that depicts sexual contact between Soviet leaders Josef Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev refused to answer police questions Monday and called the investigation of his writings absurd.


Lawmakers Present A Liberal Media Bill
By Andrei Zolotov Jr. The Moscow Times, July 5, 2002.

A group of influential lawmakers announced Thursday that it has drafted a new mass media law that aims to discourage the government from owning media outlets and introduce a European-style concept of public media.


12,000 Altai Teachers Protest
The Moscow Times, May 29, 2002
About 12,000 teachers in the Altai region kicked off a nationwide campaign Tuesday for education reform and higher wages, Interfax reported. Teachers unions in the western Siberian region are collecting signatures through Saturday for a petition to President Vladimir Putin. Other regions will join the drive, Interfax said.


Statement on the trial against Novaya Gazeta newspaper
All-Russia Democratic Assembly and the Guild of Court Reporters. April 8, 2002
Russian politics for an outsider looks like a panopticum, where you can see all types of monsters. There are monsters that can devour a whole economic sector in an instant, people who like weather-vanes start rotating speedily at the smallest breeze Basmanny Intermunicipal Court in Moscow adopted two unprecedented decisions, obliging the editing house of Novaya Gazeta to pay compensation for moral damage of THIRTY and FIFTEEN MILLION ROUBLES. Clearly, if these decisions come into force, the readers will never see Novaya Gazeta again


Novaya Gazeta Could Get a Reduced Fine
The Moscow Times, April 9, 2002
Novaya Gazeta appears to have reached a compromise with the Krasnodar judge who won an unprecedented $1 million libel suit that threatened to bankrupt the newspaper. Novaya Gazeta representatives and Judge Alexander Chernov, who had sued the newspaper for defamation, met Friday and agreed that Chernov would write to a higher court asking that the amount of fine be cut "to a reasonable level," while the newspaper would acknowledge errors in its reporting.


Grigory Yavlinsky: Beginning of broadcasting of Radio Liberty in Chechen is "not very tactful" towards Russia
Ekho Moskvi radio station, April 4, 2002
The decision of Radio Liberty to start broadcasting in Chechen is "not very tactful towards Russia, considering the present relationships between Russia and the USA, as well as the acute situation in the Northern Caucasus." This opinion was expressed by the leader of the YABLOKO faction in the State Duma of the RF Grigory Yavlinsky in an interview with the Ekho Moskvi radio station.


Lawmakers reshuffle committee posts, forcing Communist Party to lose top positions
Associated Press, April 4, 2002
MOSCOW - The Russian government lashed out Thursday at U.S.-funded Radio Liberty, saying its first broadcasts to the North Caucasus region were biased in favor of Chechen rebels.


Grigory Yavlinsky: federal mass media in Russia subject to political censorship
Rosbalt, March 26, 2002
Pskov, March 25. “People who don’t enjoy freedom of information cannot create a compatible 21st century economy,” stated the leader of YABLOKO Grigory Yavlinsky in his comments on freedom of speech in Russia for journalists in Pskov.


Accepting the Inevitable
Vremya Novostei, January 14, 2002

 Not surprisingly, there is some weariness in politicians’ comments about TV6 – most were used during the recent conflict around NTV. These two stories have a lot in common - the same team headed by the same leader, Yevgeni Kiselev, faces the same situation again.


Television: Yes-Yes-No-Yes
Grigory Yavlinsky, Novaya Gazeta, February 18, 2002

Recently television has been transformed into a powerful instrument used to manipulate public opinion. This began approximately in 1993, after the unforgettable referendum "Yes-Yes-No-Yes" and the events by the White House (Ed. shooting of parliament). By 1996 television had already been transformed into a weapon exploited by Boris Yeltsin to ensure election for a second term of office.


Grigory Yavlinsky proposes the creation of a public television channel financed and controlled by society
Polit.ru, February 19, 2002

The Yabloko faction will soon submit to the State Duma a law on public television. This was announced by the leader of the Yabloko party and its faction in the State Duma Grigory Yavlinsky in an interview with the "Geroi Dnya" (Hero of the Day) programme of NTV channel.


Interview - Russian Opposition Leader Says No Free Speech

By Neil Chatterjee, Reuters, February 12, 2002

LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - The leader of Russia's liberal opposition, Grigory Yavlinsky, says political freedom of speech in the country is dead following last month's closure of its only independent nationwide television station. "Freedom of speech is finished -- in a political sense," Yavlinsky told Reuters in an interview on Monday.


Bush concerned about shutdown of TV6
Associated Press, January 25, 2002
WASHINGTON - The shutdown of independent Moscow station TV6 is a continuing concern for President George W. Bush, the White House said Thursday.


Everyone Has the Right
Vremya Novostei, January 24, 2002
No one should have a monopoly over the airwaves; and even ownership rights may be restricted to ensure that this is the case. This was the considered conclusion of the Union of Right-WIng Forces (SPS) faction of the Duma, which has discussed the conflict over TV-6. The SPS leader Boris Nemtsov even has a formula for demonopolizing the media industry - which he has already shared with President Vladimir Putin.


Media Freedom Discussed in Russia
Associated Press, January 14, 2002

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's top broadcasting official said Monday that his office is working on bidding procedures for the broadcast license held by TV6, the independent TV station that lost a legal battle to prevent its closure.

Oil Co. Wants to Buy TV Rights
By ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press Writer, January 12, 2002
MOSCOW (AP) - After persuading a court to shut down Russia's largest independent television network, a subsidiary of the country's biggest oil company said Saturday it wants to buy the channel's broadcasting rights.


Russian TV Station Ordered to Close
Associated Press, January 11, 2002
MOSCOW (AP) - A court ordered the closure of the last national television network outside the government's control Friday - a decision prompting concern about media freedom in Russia.


A Tale of 2 Liberal Parties and 2 Contests
By Andrei Zolotov Jr., The Moscow Times, October 25, 2001, page 1

e-mail: english@yabloko.ru