Category Archives: Europe

Russians demand fair elections

Around 50 thousands of Moscovites  expressed their solidarity with rejected the access to elections opposition politicians participating in a demonstration “For Freedom and Justice” . The last five weeks the demands for fair elections and inclusion of independent candidates in upcoming municipal ballot united people from different views and backgrounds.

The crowd gathered under umbrellas in spite of rain, while riot police and vans have cordoned off the area in anticipation of a possible further march of participants through the city center following the event.

People chanted that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “thief”,

White Counter”, an independent activist group that tracks attendance at Russian demonstrations, estimated the Moscow crowd at around 47 thousand by 3:30 PM local time, but people still were arriving.

Moscow police, suspected by critics of deliberately diminishing the numbers of protesters in official statistics,  assess that  20,000 people participated in the event.

In spite of the outstanding support independent candidate Lubov Sobol was arrested, according to TASS Russian news agency wire.

The participants of the demonstration are putting forward the following demands:
1. Withdraw the criminal and administrative cases that have been opened against participants of peaceful protests during last five weeks.
2. Release the illegally arrested in the criminal case of the so-called riots and withdraw the case.
3. Publicly investigate and prosecute those responsible for violating election laws and building a mechanism of political repression.
4. Resignation of the head of election commission Valentin Gorbunov and lustration of the members of election commissions at all levels.
5. At the fall session of the State Duma, amend the electoral law and lift the signature barrier.

Simultaneously there were demonstrations in support of independent candidates and fair and free elections in the other Russian cities.

AMENDED: video of independent candidate Lubov Sobol arrest in Moscow. She has registered video of storming of her accommodation by OMON (anti-riot police).

EU blames Moscow “disproportionate use of force”

“Over a thousand peaceful demonstrators, including prominent opposition figures and journalists, have been detained in Moscow today. They were calling for free and democratic elections in Moscow in September 2019.

These detentions, and the disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters, follow the worrying series of arrests and police raids against opposition politicians carried out in recent days, and once again seriously undermine the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly. These fundamental rights are enshrined in the Russian constitution and we expect them to be protected.

For the upcoming local elections in September 2019 to represent a genuinely democratic process, it is essential to create the conditions for a level playing field and an inclusive political environment.

We expect the authorities of the Russian Federation to respect Russia’s OSCE commitments and other international obligations when conducting the upcoming local elections.

Zelensky party wins absolute majority

President Vladimir Zelensky‘s ‘Servant of People‘ party is winning the snap parliamentary election in Ukraine with 43.16% of the votes, the Central Election Commission (CEC) informed after all 100% of the ballots have been counted.

Four other parties have overcome the 5% threshold. Opposition Platform – For Life received 13.05% of the votes, former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko‘s Batkivshchina – 8.18%, former president Pyotr Poroshenko‘s European Solidarity – 8.10%, and singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s Golos – 5.82%.

According to CEC, more than 6.3 million people supported Zelensky’s party, the Opposition Platform – For Live secured support of more than 1.9 million people, Batkivschina was backed by almost 1.2 million people, while European Solidarity – by 1.18 million. About 851,000 people voted for Golos in the snap parliamentary election.

Now, the Central Election Commission is to sum up the results no later than on August 4, officially publishing them in the newspapers Holos Ukrayiny (Voice of Ukraine) and Uryadovy Kuryer (Governmental Courier) before August 9. The new Rada is meet for its first session no later than on September 9. Prior to its opening, the parliamentarians will take the oath.

A snap parliamentary election was held in Ukraine on July 21. Voter turnout stood at 49.84%, the lowest ever in the history of Ukrainian parliamentary elections with more than 14.7 million people skipping the poll.

PACE votes to restore Russian vote

Common sense has prevailed in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe where for the first time over the past five years the aggressive anti-Russian minority has failed to impose its viewpoint, Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page, commenting on a resolution enabling Russian legislators to return to PACE and take part in the summer session.

However the main distinguishing feature of the discussion was an unprecedented polarization of opinions and the same intensity of passion. Indeed, despite the absence in the text of the report of a mention of any country, it came down to the theme of Russia – to be or not to be in PACE” Konstantin Kosachev writes.

“And, despite the voting result that suits our country (118 for, 62 against, 10 abstentions), it cannot but be alarming that our opponents in the Assembly again tried to throw dirt at Russia, attributing to it any possible and impossible sins against “European values” . Shamelessly, all myths and fakes went into action, they were not shy in expressions. Apart from the Ukrainians, the British, especially in conjunction with the Georgians (and where they were without them), presented the lion’s share of the amendments “for three”, especially succeeded. By the way, ingloriously failed the lion’s share”

Kosachev FB

The Russian delegation is ready to return to PACE for the sake of the truth, Kosachev underlined. “This platform cannot be left at the mercy of Russophobes, who dream about kicking Russia out of Europe,” he went on to say.

Earlier, PACE approved the resolution of Belgian representative Petra De Sutter that will allow the Russian delegation to take part in the Assembly’s June session. Subsequently Russia will be able to present a delegation to PACE on June 25, paving the way for participation in the election of a new secretary-general for the Council of Europe the next day.

The head of the Russian State Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky, concluded that PACEmade a huge step toward defending the rights of national delegations.”

Russia‘s delegation will not tolerate “any more sanctions, no matter how insignificant, Slutsky added.

Members of the permanent delegation of Ukraine‘s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) attempted to introduce the amendments to the draft resolution, but they were declined. A total of 220 amendments were reviewed, which were overwhelmingly rejected. Separate points were withdrawn by their authors. Consideration of the amendments lasted about four hours.

EU-Swiss investors at brink of separation

European Union and Swiss investors will lose direct access to each others’ stock exchanges from July 1 as a result of an argument over a partnership treaty.

European Commission will not opt for extending of the equivalence regime that allows EU investors trade on Swiss stock exchange, effectively ending it as of July 1. according to the European diplomats.

The deadline of June 21 for the Commission to make such a proposal is overdue, and there will be no last-minute fix, because Bern did not endorse a partnership treaty with the EU that had been negotiated for years, a European diplomat said.

The move by the EU,  its biggest trading partner, will prompt retaliation from Bern, which last year drew up contingency plans to block by decree trading of Swiss shares on EU-based exchanges.

“Should the EU not extend Swiss exchanges’ access to the EU market Switzerland would activate the protective measures decided on 8 June 2018 with effect from the end of June,” said government spokesperson.

Russia-Georgia flights cancelled

President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree, which imposes a temporary ban on passenger flights between Russia and Georgia from July 8, the Kremlin press service announced. (Image above: illustration).

From July 8, 2019, Russian airlines are temporarily prohibited from carrying out air transportation (including commercial flights) of citizens from the territory of the Russian Federation to the territory of Georgia,” the ukaz reads.

In addition, tour operators and travel agents are recommended “for the duration of the ban … to refrain from selling a tourist product that includes transportation of citizens from the territory of the Russian Federation to the territory of Georgia”.

Putin instructed the government to take measures to repatriate Russian citizens temporarily staying in Georgia.

The decree was signed “in order to ensure the national security of the Russian Federation, to protect citizens of the Russian Federation from criminal and other unlawful actions and in accordance with federal law on Security dated December 28, 2010,” the document says.

The ban will stay in place until that country’s authorities can guarantee security of Russian nationals, president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

On June 20, several thousand protesters demanded resignation of the interior minister and the parliament’s speaker, and tried to storm the building of Parliament in the capital Tbilisi.. In response, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. According to Georgian media, dozens were detained, 240 people suffered injuries.

The protests infuriated by Russian State Duma delegation’s participation in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). On Thursday morning, IAO President Gavrilov opened the session in the Georgian parliament building. Opposition lawmakers were outraged by the fact that Gavrilov addressed the event from the parliament speaker’s seat. In protest, they did not allow the IAO session to continue.

Later, a decision was taken to wrap up the session and for the Russian delegation to leave the country. Members of the ruling ‘Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia’ party said that they did not know that Gavrilov had been scheduled to open the event, claiming that the protocol office had made a mistake.

Secretary General of the ruling ‘Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia’ party and Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze announced on Friday that Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze decided to step down.

Six ISIS orphans repatriated to Belgium

Six orphans of Islamic State jihadists who were being held in Kurdish camps in northeastern Syria were repatriated to Belgium , the Belgian foreign minister confirmed. (Image above: broken doll).

(NB! Any relevant images of violence, and executions committed by ISIS children will be blocked by Facebook. We have replaced them by a photo of broken doll to be able to publish the article in social media).

“The six children have just arrived in Belgium from Syria,” Didier Reynders announced via his Twitter micro blog.

The children, who are between the ages of six and 18, “are now being monitored and accompanied by the youth support services and the competent local prosecutors,” he adds.

Former Secretary of Migration, a prominent Belgium politician Theo Francken condemned the relevant authorities decision to repatriate ISIS orphans from Syria, questioning whether they really were orphans and arguing it could lead their parents to return to Belgium as well.

Vlams Belang party reacted with three words: “No. Never. Never” to the ambivalent decision of the judges to repatriate ISIS orphans, in spite of the fact that they are indoctrinated at very early age.

Children played with the decapitated heads, but I didn’t,”  Abas (16) told . “My father forbade me.” “We have seen many executions,” Saad said. “We came across them. It all happened in the middle of the street” according to Haaretz newspaper reports.

“Isis in Syria and Iraq is systematically recruiting children as young as eight to become soldiers and suicide bombers, and exacts brutal punishment on those who defy them” Evan Williams reports in his documentary.

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