To the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP) Josep Borrell
This petition is run by organizers and participants of the rallies for solidarity with Alexei Navalny and political prisoners in Russia
The assassination attempt of Alexei Navalny, his subsequent detention and prison sentence, caused a wave of protests in Russia and many other countries where Russian immigrant communities live. On 23rd January, rallies of support were organized in hundreds of cities worldwide - from Tokyo to San Francisco to Sydney. In Europe, thousands of Russians and EU citizens attended rallies to support Alexei Navalny, to demand his release and show solidarity with the Russians who want their country to be democratic, modern, prosperous and free from Putin’s authoritarian regime.
In many countries the protesters’ appeal was addressed to you, just as today we are addressing it to you in the form of this petition. We would like to say that now we have reached the moment when it is time to say “We have had enough”:
- Enough of EU’s buying the lie that Putin’s regime represents Russian citizens’ or the country’s interests. What it represents are the interests of Russian oligarchs alone.
- Enough of EU’s turning a blind eye to the usurpation of power by Putin’s regime, as well as to the fact that it retains its power by force and tramples on the law, constitution and Russia’s international obligations.
- Enough of collaboration with Putin, his officials and oligarchs. You cannot call that “collaboration with Russia”. European citizens do not want their dirty, bloody money, gas or oil.
- Enough of overlooking the repressions, human rights abuse, unconstitutional laws, unlawful amendments to the Constitution, that is, everything that Putin's regime actually represents to the majority of Russians.
We ask you to reconsider EU’s relations with and policies towards Russia and postpone all negotiations of partnership and collaboration until the most urgent issues are resolved:
- Release of all prisoners of conscience (be those citizens of Russia, Ukraine or other countries): according to Memorial Human Rights Centre, more than 400 people are persecuted in Russia for their political or religious views, with the majority of them being imprisoned. Memorial’s list of political prisoners includes Alexei Navalny and can be consulted here. The criteria used by Memorial are based on PACE Resolution 1900 (2012).
- Repeal of all repressive laws, including that about the status of a “foreign agent” for both organizations and physical persons, as well as that about the status of an “undesirable organization”. These laws contradict Russia’s international obligations, including those it has before the Council of Europe. Recommendations to abrogate or change these laws were made by the Venice Commission of the CE.
- Suspension of readings of the new “civic education” bill, which introduces state regulation of all educational events, including those designed to expand general knowledge, develop critical thinking or improve professional skills. This bill also contradicts Russia’s international obligations and threatens to build a new iron curtain by forbidding all people-to-people contacts without prior approval by the Russian state.
- Organization of free and fair State Parliament and local government elections in 2021, with admission of international observers and journalists, accreditation of independent Russian observers (including those from the Golos Movement), and admission of independent candidates (including those charged with criminal offenses on political grounds). We believe that unless the Russian government demonstrates that it is truly prepared to hold free and fair elections, any collaboration, including the economic one, has to be suspended.
- Abrogation of unlawful amendments to Russian Constitution. In 2020, the Venice Commission of the CE studied the amendments and gave its recommendations, which have not been taken into account.
- Return of annexed territories to Ukraine and cessation of any military intervention or support of guerilla groups in Eastern Ukraine, as prescribed by PACE Resolution 2325 (2020).
We also urge you to examine the issue of EU’s inefficient implementation of sanctions against Russian officials and businessmen and to seriously consider extending personal sanctions to everyone who directly or indirectly contributes to human rights abuse in Russia or to the violation of Russia’s international obligations, including those Russia has as a member of OSCE and the Council of Europe.
Why is this important?
It’s a mistake to think that Putin’s regime and the current situation in Russia have little to do with the EU and its everyday problems. A regime that spreads lies and human rights abuse, that annexes neighbouring territories and aggressively seeks to expand its military presence in the world, that persecutes the opposition and religious minorities, that promotes inequality and discrimination; a regime that supports other dictatorships like Iran, Uzbekistan and Venezuela while trampling on democracy – such a regime is a dangerous influence and a real threat to every state that stands for democratic values and human rights. It’s a threat to our European values and we must defend them.
We are sure you can make the right choice – the choice for Europe and its citizens, the choice for a better future for all of us!
Organizers and participants of the rallies for solidarity with Alexei Navalny and political prisoners in Russia:
Association For Free Russia (Za Wolną Rosję), Poland
Forum of Russian-speaking Europeans (Forum russischsprachiger Europäer), Germany
Evgenia Chirikova, civic activist, coordinator of activatica.org, Estonia
Association “Russia without Putin” (Asociación Rusia sin Putin), Spain
Anton Litvin, Cultural and Human Rights Festival Kulturus director, Czech Republic
Elena Lukjanova, professor of law, Free University, Latvia
Alexander Morozov, research fellow of Boris Nemtsov Academic Center, Czech Republic
Ksenia Ashrafullina and Pavel Elizarov, civic activists, Portugal
Russie-Libertés association, France
Thank you for signing the petition!
It is only together that we can truly be a force to be reckoned with.
The You Move Europe platform is your chance to push for change in Europe: we will host your petition and give you access to sharing tools that will help you boost it. Why not try it now?