Tag Archives: Alexei Navalny

Alexei Navalny Sakharov Prize winner

Strasbourg 20.10.2021 European Parliament MEPs have awarded Russian opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny the European Parliament’s 2021 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Parliament Vice-President Heidi Hautala announced the 2021 laureate in the Strasbourg plenary chamber on Wednesday afternoon, following an earlier decision by the Conference of Presidents (President and political group leaders).
Parliament President David Sassoli said: “The European Parliament has chosen Alexei Navalny as the winner of this year’s Sakharov Prize. He has campaigned consistently against the corruption of Vladimir Putin’s regime, and through his social media accounts and political campaigns, Navalny has helped expose abuses and mobilise the support of millions of people across Russia. For this, he was poisoned and thrown in jail.”

“In awarding the Sakharov Prize to Alexei Navalny, we recognise his immense personal bravery and reiterate the European Parliament’s unwavering support for his immediate release”, he added.

Vice-President Hautala said: “This year, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded to an advocate for change. Alexei Navalny has shown great courage in his attempts to restore the freedom of choice to the Russian people. For many years, he has fought for human rights and fundamental freedoms in his country. This has cost him his freedom and nearly his life. On behalf of the European Parliament, I call for his immediate and unconditional release.”

“Today, the Parliament also honours a group of Afghan women, who have fought fiercely for equality and human rights in their country and who were shortlisted for the Sakharov Prize. We chose to honour the bravery of these women, as they are among the first to suffer violations of their most basic rights and freedoms after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan”, she added.

Alexei Navalny is a Russian opposition politician, anti-corruption activist and major political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He came to international prominence for organising demonstrations against President Putin and his government, running for office and advocating for anti-corruption reforms. In August 2020, Navalny was poisoned and spent months recovering in Berlin. He was arrested on his return to Moscow in January 2021. He is currently serving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence, with more than two years still remaining. Now incarcerated in a high-security penal colony, Navalny went on a long hunger strike in late March 2021 to protest his lack of access to medical care. In June 2021, a Russian court banned Alexei Navalny’s regional offices and his Anti-Corruption Foundation, both now classified as extremist and undesirable by the Russian authorities.

The Sakharov award ceremony will be held on 15 December in Strasbourg. Read more about the other Sakharov Prize finalists in 2021 here.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the European Parliament. It was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is named in honour of Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov and the prize money is 50 000 euros.

Last year, Parliament awarded the prize to the democratic opposition of Belarus, represented by the Coordination Council, an initiative of brave women and political and civil society figures.

NAVALNY: EU aims at stronger russia sanctions

Brussels 21.01.2021 Following the recent imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, MEPs call on EU countries to significantly strengthen sanctions against Russia.

In a resolution, adopted with 581 votes in favour, 50 against and 44 abstentions, Parliament calls on EU member states to take an active stance on the arrest of Alexei Navalny and many of his followers at their next meetings and to “significantly strengthen the EU’s restrictive measures vis-à-vis Russia”. This includes sanctioning the “individuals and legal entities” involved in the decision to arrest and imprison Alexei Navalny, they say.

Sanctions should also be imposed against Russian oligarchs linked to the regime, members of President Putin’s inner circle and Russian media propagandists, who possess assets in the EU and can currently travel there. Additional restrictive measures could also be taken under the new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime.

Following years of deteriorating relations, MEPs stress the importance of critically reviewing cooperation with Russia in various foreign policy platforms and on projects such as Nord Stream 2. They call on the EU to immediately stop the completion of the controversial pipeline. MEPs also underline that the EU should no longer be a welcoming place for Russian wealth of unclear origin.

With a view to the new administration in Washington, Parliament stresses that the EU should use this momentum to strengthen transatlantic unity in protecting democracy and fundamental values against authoritarian regimes.

The resolution finally demands the immediate and unconditional release of Alexei Navalny and of all other persons detained in relation to his return to Russia, be they journalists, members of his team or citizens showing support.

Navalny assassination Europarl resolution

In a Resolution adopted on September 17 with 532 votes in favour, 84 against and 72 abstentions, Parliament strongly condemns the attempt to assassinate prominent Russian opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent.(Image: illustration, European Parliament, Brussels)

The text notes that the poison used, belonging to the “Novichok group”, can only be developed in state-owned military laboratories and cannot be acquired by private individuals, which strongly implies that Russian authorities were behind the attack. Should someone else, nevertheless, be found responsible, it would still be a clear breach of Russia’s international legal commitments, according to the text.

MEPs underline that the attempted assassination of Navalny was part of a systemic effort to silence dissident voices in Russia, in particular with a view to influencing Russia’s local and regional by-elections on 11-13 September. His case is only one element of a wider Russian policy focusing on oppressive internal policies and aggressive actions worldwide, notes the text.

The resolution asks for an international investigation into Navalny’s case and the alleged breaches of Russia’s international commitments in the area of chemical weapons to be launched immediately, while urging the Russian authorities to fully cooperate with such an inquiry and to hold those responsible to account.

It also calls on EU member states to take an active stance on the matter such as swiftly putting in place ambitious restrictive EU measures vis-à-vis Russia and strengthening already existing ones. The text urges the deployment of sanction mechanisms that would allow the European assets of corrupt individuals to be collected and frozen in accordance with the findings of Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said that certain political forces in the EU are boosting an information campaign aimed at making sure that Brussels won’t reverse its destructive policy towards Moscow.
The idea of naming the European Union’s new human rights sanctions after Alexey Navalny is aimed at directing the restrictions against Moscow, the diplomat said at a briefing on September 17, commenting on EU top diplomat Josep Borrell’s recent initiative.
“We view initiatives on naming new EU sanctions after Navalny as an overt attempt to direct them against Russia,” she concluded.

“We expect that common sense will prevail in the European Union, so that our partners will abandon the practice of passing the buck randomly and will draw conclusions only from documented facts in the future,” the Russian diplomat concluded.

EU condemns Novichok attack on Navalny

“The European Union condemns in the strongest possible terms the poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny“,read the text of the Russia: Statement by the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny addressed to Russia.

“The toxicological analysis carried out by a specialised laboratory of the German armed forces proves that Mr Navalny was poisoned by a military-grade chemical nerve agent of the “Novichok” group, developed by the Soviet Union and later, Russia. The use of chemical weapons under any circumstances is completely unacceptable and a breach of international law.

“It is essential that the Russian government investigates thoroughly and in a transparent manner the assassination attempt of Mr Navalny. Alexei Navalny’s case must not go unresolved. Those responsible must be brought to justice.

“We are grateful to the staff of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin hospital in Berlin for their treatment of Mr Navalny and wish him a prompt and full recovery.The European Union will continue to closely follow the issue and discuss its implications”.

Navalny suspected poisoning

Russian  opposition politician Alexei Navalny‘s doctor Anastasia  Vasilyeva (43) said to AFP he was “not allergic to anything”. (Image: archive)

It was a toxic reaction to a chemical, it was definitely some chemical agent,” she said. “It’s absurd to call it an allergy.”

According to  Vasilyeva, Navalny needs to be under close medical supervision”, and should be allowed to call his relatives.

Kateryna Yushchenko, the former Ukrainian first lady whose husband Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned 15 years ago, wrote in her Twitter micro blog:

This brings back horrific memories of September 2004. Our doctors also balked at diagnosing what happened to my husband as poison. And some doctors with security pasts tried to cover it up. Recommend Alexei get treatment in Europe ASAP.”

There’s been no evidence that Mr Navalny was poisoned. But his doctors – and his supporters – are keen to know what sparked such sudden symptoms.

Two years ago Alexei Navalny was the victim of an assault. He suffered a chemical burn in his right eye after someone threw green-coloured antiseptic in his face.

Navalny green

The personal doctor said the jailed Russian opposition leader was discharged from a Moscow hospital after a possible exposure to an unidentified “toxic agent“, while health officials insisted his condition was satisfactory.

Anastasia Vasilyeva-told Russia’s Dozhd broadcaster that Navalny was returned to the prison on July 29.

“We cannot rule out that toxic damage to the skin and mucous membranes by an unknown chemical substance was inflicted with the help of a ‘third party‘,” Vasilyeva  wrote on Facebook page.


Russian police brutality “not justified”

“The detention of over a thousand demonstrators and violence used against them by the Russian authorities across the country today threaten the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly in the Russian Federation” – says the text of the statement of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

“The detention of journalists also threatens the freedom of the media. These fundamental rights are enshrined in the Russian constitution and we expect them to be protected, not eroded. Even if some of the demonstrations were not authorised in the location where they took place, this cannot justify police brutality and mass arrests” –  the statement continues.

“The European Union expects the Russian authorities to abide fully by the international commitments Russia has made, including in the Council of Europe and the OSCE, to uphold these rights, and release without delay peaceful demonstrators and journalists.”

Putin is not our ‘tzar’ protests in Russia

Aleksei Navalny was arrested at a demonstration against Vladimir Putin inauguration in  nationwide protest action organized by the Russian opposition leader under slogan ‘He is not our tzar‘, pointing at the similarities of the political trend to establish Russian President as an eternal ruler of the country in tradition of Romanov monarchy.

Navalny was taken into custody by police shortly after arriving at the rally on Pushkin Square,  an emblematic place in the center of Moscow where riot police dealt with the protesters while some were beaten by pro-Putin supporters.

According to local media some 600 protesters have been detained by police so far at rallies across Russia, mainly in the Far East and Siberia.

Vladimir Putin (65) is expected to be sworn in for his fourth term as Russia’s president on May 7, extending an 18-year unchallenged rule for extra seven years to 2024. Many experts compare Putin’s reign with Leonid Brezhnev (1964-1982) ‘stagnation era‘ of the USSR, leading to decline and collapse of the outdated system.

Putin won 76,6% of the vote, with the turnout of 67,47%, which was higher than the previous election participation in 2012. More than 56 million of Russians from 110 million votes supported his candidacy supported his forth mandate.

ALDE for new start with Russia

The European Parliament ALDE group, led by Guy Verhofstadt, hosted an annual conference on future of the EU-Russia relations #EURussia, the event is organised the third  time on the day of the Kremlin opposition politician Boris Nemtsov assassination. In spite of the symbolism, the tone of the debate was definitely constructive, aimed at normalisation of the relation between the neighbours, especially in the field of trade, suffering from both side from boycott, which has not brought an expected result. The burden of the sanctions has caused problems for the European farmers, who paid the bill for the EU method of pressure implication. However the policy was inconsistent, and Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny, who virtually participated in the conference, criticised the European companies for baning his documentaries upon the request of Russian officials, and the other cases of Europe compromising its values, namely the freedom of speech, when dealing with Moscow.

In spite of the criticism of Kremlin, the participants of the conference unlike many other events on the subject, have drawn a clear line between the authorities and regular citizens of Russia, suggesting that there should be two different policies aimed at this two groups. The Chairman of the Munich Security Conference Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger called for visa-free regime with Russia, enhancing people-to-people contacts – the best way to ensure and promote democratic change, while awaiting for a chance to step in. Ischinger reminded about the spontaneous reunification of Germany, and added that Europe should be ready to step in when there will be a window of opportunity in Russia. He also regretted the policy of sanctions that had altogether negative effect on economies, and degraded the relations to lowest since the times of Cold War.

Responding to criticism, Russian foreign affairs expert Andrey Kortunov said there is sufficient space in existing frames for exchanges between the EU and Russian, but the is a need to use them effectively before proposing new formats. He admitted the difficulty of transition from communism to democracy was underestimated.

The representative of the NGO Golos Stanislav Andreichuk shared his vision of ongoing change within Russian society, gradually rediscovering its own potential. He underlined there is less readiness for complicity with Kremlin to manipulate the elections, and even lesser to commit fraud with the ballots. Andreichuk supported the proposal of visa-free with Russia, however insisted on tough struggle against corrupt officials.

The two-track approach was a promoted by many participants of the event, suggesting there is right time to engage in dialogue with Russia for the sake of the economic interest, and a profound need of democratisation of Russian society.

The leader of ALDE, being a consequent supported of Magnitsky law, has criticised the EU hypocrisy for accepting corrupt officials in Europe. He underscored the necessity to work on democratic change to avoid losing a young generation of Russian.



EU "doubts" political pluralism in Russia

The EU diplomats reacted on a decision of of the Russian Central Election Commission to bar Alexei Navalny from running in the 2018 Presidential election with the  statement, expressing doubts in a respect of democratic norms in upcoming presidential elections in Russia.

“The Russian Central Electoral Commission’s decision stating that Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny cannot run in the 2018 national Presidential elections due to an alleged past conviction casts a serious doubt on political pluralism in Russia and the prospect of democratic elections next year.”

“Mr Navalny, who has been sentenced on charges of embezzlement, has been judged by the European Court of Human Rights to have been denied the right to a fair trial in his prosecution in 2013 for the same charges.”

“Politically-motivated charges should not be used against political participation. We expect the Russian authorities to ensure that there is a level playing field, including in the presidential elections that will take place on 18 March.”

“We also expect the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to be invited to observe these elections. The European Union will base its assessment of the electoral process on their findings, as we have done in the past.”

Alexey Navalny published in Twitter microblog:  “I have tried”


Russia protects senator-oligarch charged with fraud in France

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny commented on the scandal around the detention of Russian senator Suleiman Kerimov (51) in Nice, France. In his opinion, Paris did what Moscow had to do a long time ago.
Since 2008 Kerimov has been elected to represent the Republic of Dagestan in Russia’s parliament upper house. Navalny, who is leading the Anti-Corruption Fund recalled that for many years Kerimov was a member of the State Duma and the Federation Council, being an elected official, the category of citizens is prohibited to engage in business activities as incompatible with serving people of Russian Federation.  Nevertheless, Kerimov is often referred to as a successful acting businessman, appearing in Forbes. This year the publication estimated Kerimov worth $ 6.3 billion.
Navalny analyzed Kerimov’s declarations for the past four years and found that, despite impressive earnings from 12 million rubles to 109 million rubles a year, the businessman is almost a ‘beggar’ owning less than modest property, namely a tiny studio of ​​37.8 square meters, and one third of the share in another apartment of 53.5 square meters. The Anti-corruption Fund considers such data submitted by senator Kerimov as “obvious lies”.
Navalny recalled that in France Kerimov was accused of laundering funds, believing that these funds were originally stolen from Russia, now actively defending a individual, who violated Russian laws.
Russian prosecutor’s office and the Investigation Committee should be after Kerimov,  co-operating with French justice, but not defending him suggests Navalny, regretting that Kerimov was arrested in France, but not in Russia, as he should.
Russian senator Suleiman Kerimov was detained in Nice on November 20. He was charged with laundering money and evading taxes. The French authorities suspect Kerimov of creating a system of intermediaries and companies to purchase the villas at  Cote d’Azur. Furthermore the prices at which his real estates was acquired were too low and did not reflect the market value.
The Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko demands the immediate release of senator Kerimov, being indifferent to his money laundering activities.
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