Yesterday as Russia Day – the national holiday of the Russian Federation – was being celebrated, it was reported that Russian opposition figure and blogger Alexei Navalny had been arrested. The Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, David McAllister (EPP, DE), the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT), and the Chair of the Russia Delegation of the European Parliament, Othmar Karas (EPP, AT) have made the following statement:
„We are very concerned to hear of the arrest of Alexei Navalny on Russia Day. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly plays a decisive role in the emergence and existence of effective democratic systems as it is a channel allowing for dialogue, pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness, where minority or dissenting views or beliefs are respected.
Relations between the European Union and Russia have never been easy, but in 2014, they entered a new and particularly difficult phase after Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU, and Russia’s aggression in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. The EU and other Western countries have imposed sanctions against Russia, and Russia has retaliated with counter-sanctions“.
The European Parliament adopted urgency resolutions on ‚Russia, the arrest of Navalny and other protestors‘ on 6 April 2017 and on ‚Russia, in particular the case of Alexei Navalny‘ on 15 January 2015.