Full text 
Procedure : 2012/2142(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0285/2012

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 22/10/2012 - 24
CRE 22/10/2012 - 24

Votes :

PV 23/10/2012 - 13.6
CRE 23/10/2012 - 13.6
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Monday, 22 October 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

24. Common visa restrictions for Russian officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case (short presentation)
Video of the speeches

  Kristiina Ojuland, rapporteur. Mr President, the name of Sergei Magnitsky is well known to the European Parliament. It was in December 2010 that we adopted the Annual Report on Human Rights, which called for justice for this courageous Russian lawyer, who died fighting corruption.

Although former president Dmitry Medvedev promised to cast light on this case, we still have not seen justice served. Last week the court hearing in Moscow again showed too little progress – of the 60 individuals implicated in his death, just two prison doctors have been charged with negligence.

Nearly three years have passed since the tragic death of Sergei Magnitsky in custody, after torture and non-provision of medical assistance. His horrific treatment and torture resembles the case of another young lawyer, Vasily Alexanyan, who was legal counsellor to Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Yukos and who died after unlawful imprisonment.

Instead of facing justice, these people are still in office. They are travelling in the EU, they spend their dirty money in the EU, they buy real estate in the EU and they educate their children here.

This recommendation suggests that the EU Member States should stop these practices. Visa bans and asset freezes are concrete reactions to such behaviour and demonstrate the EU’s value-based policy.

Colleagues, Putin’s regime has turned its back on liberal democratic values and the rule of law. Corruption has become a byword for governance in Russia. The Transparency International index shows Russia, together with Nigeria, to be at the bottom of the list. It is therefore especially arrogant of Putin to ask for visa liberalisation for the holders of the so-called ‘blue passports’ that are used by the representatives of the state administration. Does he really believe that the EU should welcome the masters of corruption?

Just two weeks ago, the monitoring report on Russia’s commitments was debated next door, at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Instead of showing goodwill and cooperation and respecting the rules of the Council of Europe, Russia’s representatives criticised the organisation for its so-called interference in Russian domestic issues. We also witnessed Russia’s threats to stop its financing of the Council of Europe.

It is not only cooperation between the EU and Russia that is being challenged; the Russia-NATO dialogue is being similarly affected. Russia’s attitude to its membership of the WTO demonstrates once again that the common rules of the club do not matter. Russia simply takes the WTO ‘à la carte’.

Let us be clear. The Magnitsky case is more than the tragedy of an individual fighting organised crime. His personal fate reflects the complexity of the transition that Russian society is going through. The degradation of political and institutional life has translated into epic corruption on the one hand and the reanimation of civil society, claiming its constitutional rights, on the other.

As Russia stands at the crossroads, with civil society struggling for the rule of law, we cannot let EU banks accept the fortunes of corrupt individuals, stealing from the Russian people. Standing, as we do, for the universality of human rights, and issuing resolutions in favour of democracy and the rule of law in Russia, we are obliged to live up to our declarations.

I would, of course, ask colleagues to vote in favour of this recommendation tomorrow.

Last updated: 30 January 2013Legal notice