Motion for a resolution - B9-0284/2020Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Russia: the poisoning of Alexei Navalny

14.9.2020 - (2020/2777(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Michael Gahler, Andrius Kubilius, Sandra Kalniete, Andrzej Halicki, Antonio López‑Istúriz White, Rasa Juknevičienė, Eugen Tomac, Radosław Sikorski, Miriam Lexmann, Roberta Metsola, David Lega
on behalf of the PPE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0280/2020

Procedure : 2020/2777(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the situation in Russia: the poisoning of Alexei Navalny


The European Parliament,

 having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

 having regard to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, in particular Chapter 2 on the Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen,

 having regard to the statement by Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell of 2 September 2020 on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny,

 having regard to the statement of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin hospital of 24 August 2020 stating that Alexei Navalny was the victim of a poisoning with a chemical nerve agent,

 having regard to the declaration of the German Federal Government of 2 September 2020 urgently calling on the Russian Government to make a statement on the incident and condemning the attack in the strongest possible terms,

 having regard to the statement from the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of 3 September 2020 on allegations of chemical weapons use against Alexei Navalny, which claims that ‘under the Chemical Weapons Convention, any poisoning of an individual through the use of a nerve agent is considered a use of chemical weapons’,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia, in particular its resolutions of 13 March 2014 on Russia: sentencing of demonstrators involved in the Bolotnaya Square events[1], of 15 January 2015 on Russia, in particular the case of Alexei Navalny[2], of 12 March 2015 on the murder of the Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and the state of democracy in Russia[3], and of 6 April 2017 on Russia, the arrest of Alexei Navalny and other protestors[4], as well as its recommendation to the Council of 2 April 2014 on establishing common visa restrictions for Russian officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case[5],

 having regard to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, which prohibits the use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons,

 having regard to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, in particular Article 29 which protects freedom of speech, and to the international human rights obligations to which Russia has committed itself as a member of the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the UN,

 having regard to Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which provide that no one is to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to which the Russian Federation is a party,

 having regard to the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas according to the renowned Russian human rights society Memorial, there are over 300 political and religious prisoners in the Russian Federation;

B. whereas Alexei Navalny is one of the most prominent leaders of the opposition in Russia;

C. whereas the EU shows solidarity with all dissidents and the Russian people, who, despite the threat to their freedom and life and the pressure from the Kremlin and the Russian authorities, continue to fight for freedom, human rights and democracy;

D. whereas Alexei Navalny and his team were actively engaged in preparations for regional elections in Russia on 13 September 2020 and introduced a ‘smart voting’ strategy to defeat the Putin regime candidates;

E. whereas Alexei Navalny and his collaborators thoroughly investigate the all-encompassing corruption of members of local and national government elites, which is part of the Kremlin’s kleptocratic regime;

F. whereas just before his attempted poisoning, Alexei Navalny was in Novosibirsk and Tomsk, where he was investigating cases of corruption among the local governors;

G. whereas Alexei Navalny, through his anti-corruption activities in the regions, increased the awareness of such cases among the local public and as a result increased turn-out in regional elections, thereby mobilising the opposition vote;

H. whereas Alexei Navalny has established a system of 40 regional offices around the country, which scrutinise the local authorities on a permanent basis, but are also subject to intimidation and persecution from the Russian authorities;

I. whereas Alexei Navalny expressed his strong support for the protesters in Khabarovsk and for the ongoing democratic revolution in Belarus, which is also their national revival; whereas he called for support for the victims of the Lukashenko regime and those participating in the national strike of Belarus and used his media platform to increase public awareness of ground-breaking events and the peaceful protests of people demanding change all over Belarus, but also of repression and torture committed by the Lukashenko regime on its citizens; whereas Alexey Navalny saw the changes in Belarus as inspiration for the people of Russia;

J. whereas political assassinations and poisoning in Russia are a systemic weapon of the regime deliberately targeting the opposition; whereas this is further exacerbated by the unwillingness of the authorities to thoroughly investigate the politically motivated and attempted murders of Anna Politkovskaya, Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Kara-Murza and others;

K. whereas politically motivated murders and attempted murders by the Russian secret service have a direct impact on EU internal security, as many of them take place on European soil; whereas according to investigations, the perpetrators enter the Schengen area using falsified data;

L. whereas the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin hospital has concluded that Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a cholinesterase inhibitor, commonly known as the Novichok nerve agent, which has also been confirmed by multiple independent laboratories; whereas this particular substance is a military-grade substance and was also used in the attempted murder of former military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in 2018 in Salisbury in the UK;

N. whereas the Novichok nerve agent is an instrument used by military structures in Russia, in particular by the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) and the Federal Security Service (the FSB); whereas such substances are regulated by Russian law; whereas the Novichok nerve agent is a chemical weapon that can be developed only in state-owned military laboratories and cannot be acquired by private individuals; whereas should that however be the case, it is a breach of Russia’s international legal commitments;

O. whereas on the day of the attempted poisoning, Alexei Navalny’s legal team immediately filed complaints to the Investigative Committee of Russia based on Articles 105 (attempted murder) and 277 (encroachment on the life of a statesman or public figure, committed in order to terminate his state of other political activity, or out of revenge for such activity) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and asked it to launch a proper domestic investigation;

P. whereas the complaint filed to the investigative committee was met with inaction; whereas on 4 September 2020 the legal team filed another complaint, this time to the Basmanny Court in Moscow, on the inaction of the investigative committee in relation to its request to open a criminal investigation into the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, which was also rejected; whereas all available legal measures to open a criminal investigation by Russian authorities were thus exhausted;

Q. whereas Russian state-controlled information outlets attempt to cover up the involvement of the Russian authorities in the attempt on the life of Alexei Navalny by spreading disinformation and diverting the focus from the continuous human rights and democracy misconduct of Russia;

R. whereas the 13 September 2020 regional elections in Russia resulted in a record number of complaints about the falsification of results; whereas in cities where Alexei Navalny was present before his attempted poisoning (Novosibirsk and Tomsk), his smart voting system proved to be effective and helped to defeat Putin’s candidates;

S. whereas the intimidation, arrest and imprisonment of foreign citizens in Russia, including the 2018 Sakharov Prize laureate Oleg Sentsov and many others, constitute breaches of international law;

1. Strongly condemns the attempt on the life of Alexei Navalny with the Novichok military grade nerve agent as well as all previous politically motivated murders and murder attempts of Russian citizens; considers that the Russian authorities are involved and responsible for these murders, which is further evidenced by their unwillingness to conduct thorough and genuine investigations and their efforts to protect those responsible for these crimes from justice;

2. Reiterates that the attempt on the life of Alexei Navalny is part of a systemic effort to intimidate and silence all dissident voices in Russia; points out that there are serious reasons to believe that this particular case was planned in advance and at the highest levels of the administration, which had a clear motive to get rid of a successful and outspoken opposition leader who is a serious threat to the regime;

3. Reiterates that the case of Alexei Navalny is one element of a deliberate Russian policy focusing on deception, spreading instability and chaos, restabilising its sphere of influence and dominance and undermining the rules-based international order;

4. Asks for the immediate launch of an international investigation (with involvement of the EU, the UN, the Council of Europe, their allies and the OPCW) into the poisoning of Alexei Navalny (together with an investigation into the Belarusian special police forces (OMON)), and the setting up of a platform in the European Parliament within the existing structures to facilitate this process and calls on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to establish a detailed investigation into breaches of Russia’s international commitments in this area;

5. Calls on the Russian leadership and authorities to face the consequences of this criminal action and cooperate with any international investigation;

6. Calls on the Member States and the international community to forcefully respond to this attempted systemic murder and stresses that inaction will be seen as weakness and further provoke violence, intimidation and aggression by the Kremlin against the values and principles of Western democracies; stresses that the international community needs to be vigilant about the Kremlin’s calculated cynicism, which is disguised as unpredictability;

7. Demands that the EU establishes as soon as possible a list of far-reaching restrictive measures vis-à-vis Russia and strengthens its existing sanctions against Russia;

8. Calls on the Russian Government to put an end to the frequently used tactics of judicial and political repression and to immediately release opposition members and leaders, political prisoners, independent journalists, representatives of civil society and foreign citizens;

9. Calls on the Member States to coordinate their positions vis-à-vis Russia and to speak with one unified voice in bilateral and multilateral dialogues with Russian authorities;

10. Reiterates that it is of utmost urgency to launch a thorough and strategic reassessment of the EU’s relations with Russia, which would include the following principles:

a. call on the VP/HR to prepare the revision of the five EU principles for relations with Russia and establish an in-depth review of EU strategic policy vis-à-vis Russia, which will be conditional on further developments in the area of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights by the Russian leadership and authorities;

b. call on the Member States to continue to isolate Russia in international fora (such as the G7 and other formats) and to critically review the EU’s cooperation with Russia through various foreign policy platforms;

c. call on the Council to prioritise the approval of the EU Magnitsky-style human rights sanctions mechanism and its implementation in the near future, which will include a list of individuals and could also include sectorial sanctions aimed at the Russian regime;

d. call on the Member States and the EU institutions to immediately suspend the Nord Stream 2 project until Russia changes its aggressive policies on the international stage, and if that does not happen, to abandon the project altogether;

e. call on the Council to adopt an EU strategy to support Russian dissidents, non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations, and independent media/reporters, making full use of human rights defender mechanisms, creating additional opportunities for young Russians to study in the EU and assisting with the launch of a Russian university in exile in one of the Member States;

f. call on the Council to immediately start preparations and adopt an EU strategy for future relations with a democratic Russia, including a broad offer of incentives and conditions to strengthen domestic tendencies towards freedom and democracy;

11. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation.


Last updated: 16 September 2020
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