Skip to comments.Dissatisfied with the European Parliament’s soft resolution on Russia, MEPs insist on blacklists
Posted on 02/21/2011 10:27:23 AM PST by struwwelpeter
Some members of the European Parliament (MEPs) deemed yesterdays resolution on Russian non-compliance with the rule of law to be much too soft, and now seek sanctions against Russian officials implicated in human rights abuses.
As reported in the media, the European Parliament has three enumerations: there is the Khodorkovsky list, which includes those involved in imposing harsh sentences in the Yukos case; the Magnitsky list, with the names of those accused of the death in jail of the lawyer for Hermitage Capital Management; and the Nemtsov list, in which appear the persecutors of Russian opposition leaders. The latter list is known to include contain the names of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, First Deputy Head of the Russian presidential administration Vladislav Surkov, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, and Vasily Yakimenko, the head of the Nashi pro-Kremlin Russian youth movement.
According to the newspaper Kommersant, during the discussion stage of the resolution, it was actually harsher than the version the MEPs adopted yesterday. The final document was a compromise between different factions. Coming out for a harsh version were the Greens and Liberal Democrats, while Social Democrats insisted on a softer plan. On Friday, the publication Zagolovki wrote about the adoption of the resolution.
Despite the fact that the resolution contains negative assessments of the observance of laws and human rights in Russia, as well as a demand to find and punish the killers of human rights defenders and journalists, Russia is relieved because it expected the adoption of an even more stringent document. According to the publication, the Russian side put forth considerable effort to weaken the document through its representatives among the Social Democrats in the European Parliament. As a result, the Russian Foreign Ministry acknowledged with satisfaction that common sense prevailed in Strasbourg.
The resolution states that the European Parliament is extremely concerned about reports of politically motivated courts, unfair proceedings, and the failure to investigate serious crimes in Russia, such as murder, intimidation or other forms of violence.
In particular, the document refers to the second sentencing in the Yukos case, where Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev received 14 years imprisonment. The document also draws the attention of the Russian government to the situation in their judicial system, such as when in November 2009 Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for the investment fund Hermitage Capital Management, died in jail. The resolution also mentions the arrest of opposition activists, including Boris Nemtsov, on December 31st, following their participation in a sanctioned rally on Triumph Square in Moscow.
The MEPs also reminded the Russian authorities to respect human rights and the rule of law in the North Caucasus. The European Parliament again called on the Russian government to find and bring to justice the killers of Russian journalists and human rights activists. The resolution lists the murders of Natalia Estemirova, Andrei Kulagin, Zarema Sadulayeva, Alik Dzhabrailov, Maksharip Aushev, Stanislav Markelov, Anastasia Baburova, and Anna Politkovskaya.
In connection with the systematic violation of the rule of law in Russia, the MEPs demanded that the European Commission reassess the advisability of bringing Russia into the World Trade Organization (WTO). At the same time, Russia experts point out that the organization already includes authoritarian regimes, and there has never been a democratic link to entry into the WTO, according to the newspaper Vedomosti.
As to measures in the resolution to restore order and the rule of law in Russia, the European Parliament proposes intensified consultations on human rights between the EU and the Russian Federation, including the participation of the heads of the Russian Justice, Interior, and Foreign ministries. The MEPs also calls on the Russian authorities to abide by all decisions of the European Court of Human Rights relative to Russia.
In addition, the European Parliament urged the EU Council, the European Commission, and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, to continue monitoring the human rights situation in Russia, and raise these issues at every meeting with Russian officials, and in particular at the forthcoming EU-Russia summit.
Provisions that were not included in the final document
As Kommersant discovered, the resolution did not include critical assessments of the situation in the North Caucasus. The Greens suggested that the document contain a statement that the Russian judiciary and law enforcement agencies are unable to put an end to increasingly unpunished human rights violations in the North Caucasus.
The proposed resolution was also to call on the government of the Russian Federation to complete its investigation into the Beslan terrorist attack and provide appropriate redress for the victims. The Liberal Democrats wanted the resolution to include a phrase that stated that Russia in its fight against terrorism often used cruel and oppressive measures. A proposal to place certain officials on a blacklist was also in a final version of the resolution.
Recall that the original draft resolution shocked the Russian Parliament. Yesterday, however, Andrei Klimov, the deputy head of the Russian Parliament committee on foreign affairs, acknowledged that the final resolution would turn out not to be so wild and uncivilized as planned. Though its still a bit puzzling, said the Russian MP, noting that he did not understand why the members of the European Parliament adopted this now, two months after we met with them and discussed many of these problems.
Garry Kasparov meets with U.S. senators
(Photo: Rep. James McGovern, Garry Kasparov, and Vladimir Kara-Murza. Photo by V. Bukovsky press center)
The leader of the United Civil Front, Garry Kasparov, held a meeting at the U.S. Congress on introducing visa sanctions against senior Russian officials responsible for violations of civil rights and freedoms, and complicity in corruption. According to the Vladimir Bukovsky press center, the topic of personal sanctions was discussed in a meeting of Kasparov with U.S. Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman and Congressman James McGovern. The negotiations also involved a member of the Federal Political Council from the Solidarity party, Vladimir Kara-Murza.
In November 2010, a proposal to ban entry into the U.S. of officials involved in violations of Russias international obligations on democracy, the rule of law, and human rights, was made by Solidarity bureau member Boris Nemtsov. He urged Michael McFaul, National Security Council secretary for Russian affairs, to leave a joint Russian-American commission on the issues of civic organizations. Speaking before Congress, Nemtsov suggested that Vladislav Surkov, first deputy chief of the Russian presidential administration and co-chairman on of the commission on the Russian side, be named in the bill concerning a ban on entry into the U.S. by Russian officials and law enforcement officials on the so-called Magnitsky list. According to Nemtsov, McFaul supports this idea.
I think that Surkov should be the first to be denied entry into the West, said Nemtsov. He is responsible for establishing censorship in the country, he is responsible for turning Russian elections into an absolute farce, he created and funds extremist pro-Kremlin youth organizations that hold hate marches about downtown Moscow, while representing our human rights activists and opposition members as Nazi criminals.
Nemtsov also proposed a pact in support of democracy in Russia, the essence of which would be to impose sanctions not against the country, but against certain individuals. America is used to putting sanctions against countries, but a regime of sanctions against certain officials has not yet been done, he said.
In early January, Senators McCain and Lieberman issued a joint statement calling the December 31st arrest of Nemtsov at an opposition rally: shameful and outrageous. Congressman McGovern is the co-chairman of the House of Representatives Human Rights Commission, and co-author of a bill of visa sanctions against Russian officials involved in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
In Grani.ru, January 28th, 2011
Amazing the arrogance,,, the euros are demanding that Russia abide by the decisions of the EU court of human rights regarding Russia.The euros are desperate to gain control of Russia politically so they can dictate the terms of gas purchases. Their arrogance is amazing,,,,,
A Galaxy without Putin
...In Washington, the tribune of our people, Nemtsov, has been cooperating with Reagans heir, an honest anti-Soviet and anti-communist who fought in Vietnam and is the leading Republican: Senator John McCain. McCain would have become President of the United States, had not Obama been younger, more energetic, more athletic, and more interesting, and had not Obama not been an African-American who could give America the opportunity to forever wash away the stigma of apartheid. Valiant McCain, in contrast to the indifference Barack Obama shows towards our dissidents problems, is ready to help Nemtsov, and us, by changing the Jackson-Vanik amendment (there were such people in those days!) into a new Protection of Democracy in Russia Act. There already is a Protection of Freedom Act, under which the US cannot allow in Zyuganov, Anpilov, Limonov, Udaltsov, Kim Jong Il, the Chinese comrades, and Fidel and Raul Castro, but it discriminates in that it really only punishes communist regimes. Our spy gangsters (by this I mean the power elite of the Russian Federation), alas, are not covered by the Act.
But Nemtsov has a brilliant and simple plan: to not allow our little piggies to come to the western table. Let them champ from the swill trough alongside their pets: Hugo Chavez, Lukashenko, Ahmadinejad, and the like. A list has been compiled, headed by Putin and Surkov and as opposed to the Pierre Cardin list it will be the Nemtsov list. Perhaps the little piggies, when not admitted to the European table, will act less like pigs in their homeland? Perhaps they will release Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, release other political prisoners, withdraw their troops from Transdnistria, Abkhazia, and the Tskhinvali region (of South Ossetia), and agree to turn their back on Iran, Cuba, and China, and quit bothering the Ukraine and the Baltic states? The wonderful Nemtsov-McCain project, however, needs to be improved and supplemented in its amendments.
...If the U.S. adopts Nemtsovs Act, then maybe the EU will follow Americas example. There is, however, a better option: do not repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment, but adopt the Protection of Democracy in Russia Act. Think about it, Jackson and Vanik were good fellows - they wanted to punish the USSR for its sins. Its refusal to let the Jews leave was just one of many crimes. They did not let anybody leave - neither Russians nor Tartars nor Bashkirs. There were many reasons to punish the USSR: Afghanistan... Czechoslovakia... the Evil Empire... the Gulag... the occupation of Eastern Europe... Punitive psychiatry... Political prisoners... Sakharovs exile... the South Korean airliner... not even the Internet is big enough to enumerate it all.
..As far as the people who remained silent and voted for Putin, Medvedev, and United Russia, I would punish them by exile to a prison Gulag (i.e.: Russia). One must answer for cowardice, meanness, and slavery.
It was not for no reason that Andrei Sakharov called on the United States and Canada not to sell wheat to the USSR. It was in order to kill a totalitarian regime with the gaunt hand of famine (which is what one clever British lord said early in the Bolshevik era, but no one would listen). Soviets have no business in Spanish resorts. Let them bathe in Sochi. Cancel entry visas and do not give any to anyone without a permission slip from the democratic opposition...
Valeria Novodvorskaya, December 14th, 2010
PARNAS: The West must stop flirting with Russian leaders
The West must abandon Realpolitik with hugs and kisses with regard to Russian leaders. The co-chairmen of the Party of National Freedom (PARNAS), Mikhail Kasyanov, Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov, and Vladimir Milov, stated this in a letter to the Washington Post. According to the authors, when Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev once again divvy up the government in 2012, Russia will lose its last chance of a peaceful return to democratic development.
Western leaders must stop closing their eyes to the obvious failure of Russian leaders to carry out their international obligations, especially those related to free and fair elections and basic human rights, the PARNAS leaders wrote. The West must stop receiving Russian leaders as equals and granting them a legitimacy, which they clearly do not deserve. The West must expose corruption in the Russian establishment: one of the pillars of this regimes stability is that it is able to find safe havens abroad to store their ill-gotten gains, as well as always having the option of fleeing Russia for a quiet life in the West. Western countries should impose sanctions targeted against government officials who directly violate the rights of their countrymen.
According to the authors of the article, such measures will be met with resistance by Putins team, especially those who under the auspices of state control are plundering Gazprom and Rosneft, as well as some businesses that prefer to have a smooth, if somewhat low-key, relationship with the Russian authorities. As the leaders of Russias united democratic opposition, we call upon the West to stop wrecking our case, and to cease compromising the very principles upon which Western society is based. We are confident that we can achieve our goals through a free and normal democratic process, but only if there is anything left of our country that we can rebuild, concluded Kasyanov, Milov, Nemtsov and Ryzhkov.
On February 8th, Mikhail Kasyanov, while speaking at the Estonian Foreign Ministry on behalf of the democratic coalition, called on the true friends of Russia abroad to stop turning a blind eye to Russias numerous violations of its international obligations, and require compliance with generally accepted democratic procedures. According to Kasyanov, the Russian authorities intend to hold the forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections under the same scenario as the previous ones: by simply appointing the president and members of parliament. They expect Western observers and foreign leaders to once again take it in stride and simply turn a blind eye to Russias violations of its international obligations to hold free and democratic elections, Kasyanov said.
The Party of National Freedom (PARNAS) was established last December. On February 5th, it held a founding conference for the partys Moscow branch. In the spring, it plans to finish forming regional offices and will transmit its registration documents to the Justice Ministry shortly thereafter. Its leaders have entered into a coalition and signed agreements on joint participation in parliamentary and presidential elections. If the party is allowed to register, a single presidential candidate will be nominated this summer during a party congress. If the party is refused official registration, its candidate will be selected by a secret ballot of the party congress, with equal representation of the four organizations included in the coalition: Solidarity, the Russian National Democratic Union, the Republican Party of Russia, and the Democratic Choice party. The candidate will be one of four co-chairmen of the Party of National Freedom.
This long-winded revolution needs to boil down the message. Otherwise, very few will support them.
Gorbachev: Behavior of Medvedev and Putin shows incredible conceit
An incredible conceit is how former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev described the behavior of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. According to Gazeta.Ru, during a press conference in Moscow Gorbachev harshly criticized their approach to the 2012 presidential elections. I think its immodest when Putin tells someone that hell sit down with Dmitry Medvedev and decide wholl run for president. Thats an incredible conceit, Gorbachev said.
In his words, Its none of Putins business. Its the business of those who do the electing.
Russia is only halfway to democracy, because theres still so much that remains unresolved, Gorbachev said. I think we are no more than halfway. We have a parliament, there are courts, there is a president and a prime minister, but you know - these are but imitations, and their work is ineffective, especially the courts and the parliament, Gorbachev was quote as saying by Interfax. According to his evaluation, there now is a monopoly on power in Russia, and a monopoly rots and does not allow the development of the democratic process.
The former Soviet leader also criticized the ruling United Russia party. In his words, it reminds him of the very worst copy of the CPSU. It is unfortunate that todays leaders are not very modern, Gorbachev said. He did not rule out that eventually he and his colleagues at the Russian social democratic movement will start their own party. When we created the movement, we had with us people who could provide financial support. I think well grow the movement so that it becomes more powerful, and one on which you create a party, Gorbachev said.
Speaking about the Yukos case, Gorbachev said that in his opinion Natalya Vasilyeva, the assistant head of the Hamovnichesky court, was telling the truth when she described how Judge Viktor Danilkin determined the sentence in the second case "by taking dictation over the phone. I believe it. I believe her completely. I think this should be investigated. We need to find out who was this person (who dictated the Khodorkovsky and Lebedev sentences), Gorbachev said.
He added: Theres a lot thats embarrassing in the Khodorkovsky case. On the one hand, it seems that (Khodorkovsky and Lebedev) should be released. However, if they spilled blood while resolving economic issues, then someone has to answer for it. If not, one they have already served their sentences it will be too late. The most important thing here is that there is no fair legal assessment.
In early February, Gorbachev said that Putin is unlikely not participate in the 2012 presidential elections, in order that he may return to the Kremlin in 2018. Most likely he wont not take part in the presidential elections. Two terms are enough. Well, he had two terms, Gorbachev said in an interview with British television channel SkyNews. What will they do in the future? Perhaps he and Medvedev will swap again, joked Gorbachev.
In his own words - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Novosti, June 24th, 2010:
Its always a great test for a politician. This is a difficult job, being president. Whoever from the very start suggests hes willing to serve two or three terms, thats usually somebody who either hasnt figured out what hes gotten himself into, or somebody whos not quite ready for this line of work.
Kasyanov: Russia will have a Tunisian script, not a Libyan one
In the case of mass protests, Vladimir Putin would not dare use force against rebels, said Mikhail Kasyanov, co-chairman of the Party of National Freedom (PARNAS). He predicts that in Russia events will evolve quickly into more of a Tunisian than a Libyan scenario. Theres a good chance that we can force Putin to implement the Constitution, said Kasyanov during a broadcast of Radio Echo of Moscow. He stressed that Putin is not a classic dictator.
Recent developments in North Africa have made the authorities understand the need for change, said Kasyanov. According to him, the unreliability of the Russian economic system, about which Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin now speaks openly, is now apparent to everyone. In recent speeches Mr. Kudrin spoke of the necessity of holding fair elections. Not everyone in the government thinks we need to tighten the screws, said Kasyanov. According to him, public sentiment has also changed, and everyone is sick of the current government.
If the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections are once again imitative, the December riots on Manege Square could be repeated on a larger scale, warned the former prime minister.
The authorities cannot refuse to register the Party of National Freedom, said Kasyanov. At this time regional branches of the party are holding conferences. In order to register (for national elections), they are required to establish 57 branches with a minimum membership of 450 each. According to Kasyanov, the requirements of the improper and unconstitutional law on political parties will be fully implemented, and the government will be forced to register PARNAS.
Western leaders need to demand free elections in Russia, said Kasyanov. According to him, excessive pragmatism in (the Wests) relations with the Russian leadership hurts us all. Elected leaders of the West mustnt remain silent when the Russian government violates its international obligations, said the PARNAS co-chairman. When foreign politicians come to hug and kiss the a pre-ordained winner of the election its ridiculous and disgusting, said Kasyanov.
The Party of National Freedom was established last December. On February 5th, the Moscow branch of the party held its founding conference. Planned for the spring is the formation of regional offices and the submission of documents to the Justice Ministry. On April 16th, it will hold a mass rally to demand the registration of PARNAS.
The leaders of the democratic coalition signed an agreement on joint participation in parliamentary and presidential elections. They plan to nominate a single presidential candidate from among the co-chairs of the party: In addition to Kasyanov, there is Boris Nemtsov, a member of the Solidarity bureau, Vladimir Milov, the leader of Democratic Choice, and Vladimir Ryzhkov, the head of the Republican party of Russia.