Last Saturday 23 January, thousands of people were demonstrating in the streets all over Russia to show their disapproval of the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny. In cities like St Petersburg, Moscow and Vladivostok, people gathered to show their support, only to be faced with brutal and unprecedented police violence. Up to 3,500 people across the country were arrested.
ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen has expressed his support for the release of Navalny and underlines that Russians no longer accept the corruption, repression and misuse of power of the Putin regime. He demands that Navalny is released immediately and calls upon EU leaders to take targeted actions.
The EU High Representative Josep Borrell informed the European Council on Monday morning of his upcoming visit to Moscow. At the beginning of February, he will visit Kremlin ahead of a European Council discussion on the relations with Russia in March, but has also announced that he will address “all relevant issues”.
ALDE member party Yabloko has also issued a statement calling to demand the release of all political prisoners in Russia and demanded the opening of a professional international investigation of the criminal attack on the life of Alexei Navalny, and also established a call centre to assist those detained at the rallies on 23 January.Party leader Nikolai Rybakov said: “An unlawful repressive state with the unlimited personal, irreplaceable power of Vladimir Putin has been formed in Russia. The laws are being applied in the way that Putin and his ruling group wish. Protesters must be fully aware of the grave danger they and those they call to the streets will face. Calls to minors to participate in unpermitted actions are categorically unacceptable, such calls are irresponsibly criminal – no matter who they come from.”
“We demand from the federal and regional authorities the utmost self-command and self-restraint and non-use of violence against participants in peaceful political actions.”Member party Parnas also issued a statement calling for the immediate release of Mr Navalny. leader Mikhail Kasyanov said: “Starting a repressive machine will only increase public dissatisfaction. Power by thoughtless perseverance pushes citizens to escalate confrontation, which tomorrow may generate even more intolerance and mutual violence in society.”
“We urge the authorities to ensure the right of citizens to gather peacefully and without weapons for public actions in accordance with Article 31 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. We condemn the use of violence against civilians on the streets of our cities, preventive arrests and collective arrests.”
Massive, widespread protests show that the Russian population is sick and tired of corruption, power misuse and repression. Navalny has given them a voice. He should be freed and repression should stop now. EU cannot limit itself to declarations but must take targeted sanctions! pic.twitter.com/32MRICJOjv— Hans van Baalen (@hansvanbaalen) January 25, 2021