Hundreds detained in Moscow during protests following Alexei Navalny prison sentence
EU politicians insist on introducing a new package of sanctions against Russia
The decision of the Simonovsky District Court of Moscow, which at its exit meeting satisfied the demand of the Federal Penitentiary Service and replaced the suspended sentence for Alexei Navalny with a real one with serving a sentence in a general regime colony, caused a loud resonance not only in Russia, but also in many countries of the world. Including those that are part of the European Union.
Thus, the EU High Representative Josep Borrell stated: “The verdict handed down to Alexei Navalny is contrary to Russia’s international obligations in the field of the rule of law and fundamental freedoms. It contradicts the verdict of the ECHR, which found the case to be arbitrary and unfounded. I call for his immediate release “.
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The EU is discussing new sanctions against Russia
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Lithuania: Baltic States May Become Leaders in Adopting New Sanctions
President of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda wrote on his Twitter: “The Stalinist approach“ no man – no problem ”is still applied in Russia. Navalny’s verdict, passed by a fake court, is not justice, but a crime against human rights and democratic values. I call on EU leaders and the international community to act. Sanctions against Russia are back on the table “.
Lecturer at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science Nerijus Malyukevicius (Nerijus Maliukevičius) believes that the statements of Western leaders are perceived by the Russian leadership as their usual rhetoric in such cases and does not affect their actions, including in terms of the release of political prisoners. “But these statements make sense in the sense that they demonstrate a transition to a discussion on new sanctions,” he said in an interview with the Voice of America Russian Service..
According to Malyukevicius, the exchange of sanctions between the West and Russia has become a kind of norm. “Discussions on new sanctions in the European Union are difficult, but when they are adopted, they already begin to live their own lives. And just as these measures have been discussed for a long time, they will be important for a long time to come..
The main thing that interests our politicians now is what kind of new sanctions to impose, and when it needs to be done, ”the Lithuanian expert continues..
And he shares his observation: “In assessing the personality of Alexei Navalny in the Baltics, Ukraine and Georgia, there was for a long time an element associated with his past statements about the last two countries. But now this is already receding into the background, and we are seeing a consolidation of positions on the sanctions. Now there will be a discussion about who exactly needs to be included in the new sanctions lists, but this is already a purely working question “.
In conclusion of his commentary, Nerijus Malyukevicius noted that Washington’s position on the so-called “Navalny’s List” would be an important point. “Decisions in the United States are often made faster than in the European Union, and they will not become a kind of indicator.
And I would also like to note the statement of the former Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu that if the European Union takes too long to make a decision on new sanctions, the Baltic countries could become a kind of flagship in this matter. “.
Czech Republic: opposition politicians criticize Russia, key figures are silent
Columnist for Novinky.cz Alexander Mitrofanov He reported on Twitter about the course of the trial and subsequent events in Moscow and St. Petersburg, when the police brutally dispersed the spontaneous protests of the supporters of Alexei Navalny.
In a conversation with a correspondent for the Russian service of the Voice of America, he noted that the reaction of the Czech society about the prison term for the Russian oppositionist can be divided into three parts. “As a rule, people who adhere to the values of democracy were shocked by what is happening in Russia now. The second segment of Czech society can be attributed to indifferent people, but there is also a group that includes those who traditionally support authoritarian forms of government. And they fully support Putin, “Mitrofanov said..
As for the statements of Czech politicians, the first to respond by tradition was the Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček, who represents the Social Democratic Party in the government. “He was very critical of the actions of the Russian authorities. And just like after the arrest of Alexei Navalny at the airport after returning from Germany, Tomasz Petřicek raised the issue of sanctions, which, in his opinion, the European Union should apply against Russia as soon as possible..
Representatives of the two opposition parties expressed themselves in the same spirit, only without diplomatic equivalents. These are the chairman of the conservative People’s Party Marian Jurechka and the leader of the conservative-liberal party “TOP 09” Marketa Adamova. They condemned the actions of the Russian authorities, emphasized their adherence to the ideals of democracy and the values of the Western world. And Marketa Adamova also wrote that she would make every effort to ensure that the Russian state corporation Rosatom was excluded from the tender for the completion of the Dukovany nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic. Many opposition politicians and specialists, as well as secret services oppose Russia’s participation, “- said the interlocutor of the” Voice of America “.
As for the president and prime minister of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman traditionally speaks warmly of Vladimir Putin, whom he calls his “friend”. He repeated this in a recent interview with a Czech radio station, where he said that he was going to ask Putin for help in the fight against coronavirus. At the same time, he criticized Alexei Navalny and even said that Navalny approved the Stalinist genocide of the Chechens. “This is the level of argumentation of our president. But his voters and supporters believe him because they do not have any other information..
And Prime Minister Andrei Babish is simply silent. Probably because through Zeman it is subjected to strong pressure from Russia regarding the participation of Rosatom in the completion of the Dukovany nuclear power plant. True, when protests were taking place in Russian cities on January 23, Prime Minister Babish in his video blog on Youtube said a strange phrase: “In our country after November 1989, no one beat anyone with truncheons for the fact that people had a different opinion. Appreciate it and see what is happening in the world. ” At the same time, Russia was not mentioned in this context. What can be regarded as caution and even fear on the part of Andrei Babis in the matter of the actions of the Russian authorities, ”summed up the columnist for the Novinky.cz publication Aleksandr Mitrofanov.
Romania: the country learned that there is another politician in Russia besides Putin
Romanian journalist Armand Ghosh (Armand Gosu) argues that in his country, in contrast to the Baltics or Poland, interest in Russian politics is traditionally low. “If you talk to intelligent passers-by on the streets of Bucharest, they will willingly share their thoughts on American, French or Italian politics. But they know almost nothing about Russian politics – except for the name Putin..
I give lectures on modern Russia at the University of Bucharest. And it is a real torment for me to make my students learn the name of the Russian prime minister. Nobody knows her, and does not want to know. They name only Putin, “he complained in an interview with the Voice of America Russian service correspondent..
But since August last year, many Romanians have learned a new surname for them – Navalny. “Do you know why? After all, we had a secret service called Securitate under Ceausescu, which also dealt with poisoning. But for us it seemed like something similar to what is happening now in Russia. And after the attempt to poison Navalny, many of us learned the name of another Russian politician – the main oppositionist to Putin. And his portrait appeared on the front pages of the main Romanian newspapers, ”says Armand Goshu.
According to the journalist, immigrants from the Soviet republics settling in Romania also came to the buildings of Russian diplomatic missions to express their solidarity with Alexei Navalny and demand his release: “But there are few people with Russian passports, and they all work for Lukoil or to Gazprom. And even if in their hearts they would like to join the demonstrators, they would not dare to go for it. “.
As for the Romanian politicians, the Romanian Foreign Ministry on Twitter criticized the Russian authorities and demanded the release of Navalny. But, perhaps, the former Prime Minister, and now the MEP, the head of the liberal-democratic faction Renew Europe (“Renewing Europe”) spoke out the loudest on this matter. Dachian Ciolos. “This is a very important figure in Romanian politics,” stressed Armand Goshu. And he quoted a quote from Chyolos’s statement: “The arrest of Alexei Navalny is a cowardly gesture of the regime headed by Vladimir Putin, and it cannot be left without consequences. I call for an urgent debate in the European Parliament on this outrageous case, because at this point more is needed than an expression of solidarity. A few weeks ago, Navalny published the results of his own investigation and exposed the criminals who poisoned him. And who are now quietly walking around Russia while he is in custody. It is unacceptable!”
Germany: a possible rejection of the course laid by Willy Brandt “Eastern policy”
Freelance journalist Victor Agaev, living in Germany, notes that on the issue of the attitude to Navalny’s case, both politics and the FRG media showed rare unanimity. “For example, Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, through her press secretary Steffen Seibert, said that the decision of the Simonovsky court is very far from the principles of the rule of law and that Navalny should be released. “In addition, violence against peaceful demonstrators should be stopped,” Seibert quotes Angela Merkel.
“The sentence to Navalny is a blow to rights and freedoms, according to the principles of the rule of law, spelled out in Russian laws. Navalny should be released immediately, ”wrote the head of the German Foreign Ministry, Heiko Maas. German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer she called the actions of the Russian justice system “pure cynicism,” and Der Spiegel put these words in the title of today’s article. In addition to demanding the release of Navalny, she also calls for the introduction of personal sanctions against Russian politicians, judges and security officials. By the way, similar requirements are most often found in many comments. So, the MP from the CDU Roderich Kiesewetter called the trial “a shameful spectacle demonstrating the fear of the Russian government towards its own people.” The verdict for Navalny did not surprise Kizevetter, but disappointed: “This is a shame for Russia, a member of OSBE and the Council of Europe.” According to the deputy, it should now be clear to all politicians that the previous approach to Russia, proclaimed by Willy Brandt, that it is necessary to conduct business relations with this country and, thanks to them, achieve changes, should become a thing of the past..
And an expert from the Social Democratic Party Nils Schmidt ironically that all of Navalny’s offense is that he was being treated in Germany for an attempt on his life in Russia. And he is already seriously declaring that it is highly cynical to accuse him of violating the conditional sentence. According to Schmidt, the Russian regime is nervous and there is no point in expecting a decline in the protest movement, ”Viktor Agayev shared his review of the German press commenting on the verdict on Alexei Navalny..
According to the interlocutor of the Voice of America, in connection with the case of Alexei Navalny in Germany, the discussion around the construction of Nord Stream 2 is intensifying. “As you know, even during the presidency of Donald Trump, the United States insisted on stopping the construction of this gas pipeline and imposed sanctions against the companies involved in its construction. And now in Germany, the overwhelming majority of opinions express a negative attitude towards this project with a demand to immediately stop it. And, perhaps, only Merkel and Economy Minister Peter Altmaier say that it is necessary to complete the construction of Nord Stream-2 and that it should not be linked to the Navalny case..
And it should be noted that in Germany there are strong returns against Nord Stream both from an environmental point of view and from the point of view of the transatlantic partnership. Although many here are afraid of increasing dependence on both Russia and America. So here is a whole complex of problems and consequences that are still completely incomprehensible. And now all that remains is to wait for the decision of the Council of Foreign Ministers, which should follow one of these days, “Victor Agayev concludes his review..
Trial of “a man who looks like Putin” was held in Berlin
Chairman of the Forum of Russian-Speaking Europeans, sociologist Igor Eydman shared with the correspondent of the Russian service “Voice of America” his observations about the actions that took place in Berlin in support of Alexei Navalny. “We carried out actions on January 23rd, January 31st, and yesterday. True, there weren’t so many people yesterday, because we got together spontaneously. But on the 23rd there was an unprecedented action for Russian Germany – three and a half thousand people came out to protest against the repressions and demand the release of Navalny and other political prisoners. This number of participants is a lot even for Russian cities, and in Berlin the Russian diaspora is not one of the largest. By the way, then we had the largest share outside of Russia..
On January 31, we had more than a thousand participants, and we held a unique performance called “The Trial of Putin”. We escorted a man in judo clothes and a Putin mask under escort through the central streets of Berlin. Then the protesters acted as a jury at an impromptu trial and confirmed Putin’s guilt in persecuting political opponents, in poisoning, in illegal sentences, in aggression against Ukraine and in the annexation of Crimea, and so on. For all this, “a man similar to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin,” he was sentenced to us and put in a cage that we borrowed from the museum “Hitler’s Bunker”, ”said Igor Eidman.
Regarding plans for further actions, he said that the Russian diaspora in Berlin would be guided by the schedule of the headquarters of Alexei Navalny. “Because the main political struggle is still going on in Russia, and we are trying to support it and draw the attention of the German public to this and appeal to the German authorities. By the way, before the rally on January 23, we sent a letter to Angela Merkel and asked her to link the release of Russian political prisoners with any cooperation with Russia. Including – in the economic plane “, – concluded the chairman of the Forum of Russian-speaking Europeans Igor Eidman.