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Motion for a resolution - B9-0185/2022Motion for a resolution

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the Increasing repression in Russia, including the case of Alexey Navalny

    5.4.2022 - (2022/2622(RSP))

    with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
    pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure

    Sergey Lagodinsky, Francisco Guerreiro, Mounir Satouri, Eleonora Evi, Ignazio Corrao, Reinhard Bütikofer, Alviina Alametsä, Bronis Ropė, Heidi Hautala, Hannah Neumann
    on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

    See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0181/2022

    NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.
    Procedure : 2022/2622(RSP)
    Document stages in plenary
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    European Parliament resolution on on the Increasing repression in Russia, including the case of Alexey Navalny


    The European Parliament,

     having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia,

     having regard to the Constitution of the Russian Federation and to the international human rights obligations to which Russia has committed itself as Member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations (UN),

      having regard to the Statement by High Representative Josep Borrell on the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta of 29 March 2022,

      having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,

    1. whereas Russian Federation continuously breaches international law and commitments and has launched a war of aggression and extermination against its neighbouring country; whereas legislative restrictions, media bans, criminalisation of independent reporting and free opinion and other  political prosecutions have taken totalitarian scale in recent months, with the result of implosion of independent and pluralistic civil space in Russia;
    2. whereas the increasing repression against independent civil society and media takes place amidst a systematic cover-up by the Russian government of events and the truth about Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, as well as the international situation and impact of Russian society following this fatal action by the Kremlin;
    3. whereas fundamental human rights, including freedom of association and freedom of expression, are enshrined in the constitution of the Russian Federation, as well as in numerous international legal instruments, to which Russia has committed itself; whereas the Russian authorities are responsible for years of systematic propaganda campaigns against Ukraine, Europe and liberal democratic values, culminating in the demolition of any rest of vibrant, politically active and independent civil society;
    4. whereas numerous laws imposed over the past years, such as the “foreign agents law” and its variations, regulation and adjudication on so called “extremist organizations” and countless decrees of the media-overseeing regulator have been used by Russian authorities to facilitate the crackdown on independent civil society and media active in Russia, targeting NGOs, human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, as well as women’s rights, LGBTIQ+ and environmental activists; whereas in March 2022, the Russian authorities adopted a new package of laws criminalising so-called “false information” and “discrediting Russian armed forces, which penalises independent war reporting, referring to the armed conflict in Ukraine as a “war, or protesting against it with hefty fines and even lengthy prison terms;


    1. whereas as a consequence of these laws and of threats from the authorities, most of the remaining independent Russian media outlets have had to suspend their work in Russia or were shut down, including most notably Radio Echo of Moscow, TV Dozhd and Novaya Gazeta; whereas the authorities blocked foreign social media in Russia and blacklisted Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp as “extremist”;


    1. whereas since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, hundreds of journalists, human rights defenders, activists and others left Russia due to drastically increased risks of arbitrary arrest and prosecution, including after President Putin qualified those standing up against the war as “national traitors” and a “fifth column”;


    1. whereas on 15 March 2022, the Russian Federation decided to leave the Council of Europe, depriving Russian citizens of the protection enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and denying them access to judicial remedies at the European Court of Human Rights;


    1. whereas Alexei Navalny, a Russian lawyer, opposition politician and anti-corruption activist,  and laureate of the Sakharov Prize 2021, currently illegally incarcerated in a penal colony, has been repeatedly subjected to torture and inhumane treatment while there and has been struggling with deteriorating health; whereas the EU has condemned the poisoning and politically motivated imprisonment of Mr Navalny in the strongest possible terms, imposed targeted sanctions and continues to demand an independent investigation into his poisoning;
    2. whereas on 22 March 2022, Moscow’s Lefortovski Court sentenced Alexei Navalny to nine years in a maximum security prison and issued him a EUR 10.000 administrative fine; whereas this judgment clearly contravenes international law and the Russian Constitution and is as unlawful, arbitrary and politically motivated as the previous judgment;


    1. whereas a number of activists were threatened by or subjected to arrest and prosecution for supporting or working with Alexei Navalny or supporting his ideas, like so called “smart voting”; whereas they were accused and prosecuted for such support based on retroactive application of new laws or administrative decisions based on their social media statements;


    1. whereas since 24 February 2022, Russian authorities have arbitrarily detained thousands of peaceful anti-war protesters across the country, subjecting some to severe ill treatment and other human rights violations;


    1. Demands that Russian authorities stop harassment, intimidations and attacks of all independent civil society organisations, NGOs, human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, as well as women’s rights, LGBTIQ+ and environmental activists in Russia; expresses its solidarity with the democratic forces in Russia, committed to an open and free society, and its support for all individuals and organisations who became targets of attacks and repression;
    2. Urges Russia to repeal existing laws and stop creating special legislation or abusing criminal or administrative laws with the aim of targeting dissident voices in the country or abroad, and bring its legislation in line with the commitments Russia has voluntarily undertaken under international law and its own Constitution, including fully reinstating freedom of association and expression, as well as media and internet freedom; calls in particular for repealing the “foreign agents” law and legislation affecting independent media, including the 4 March 2022 laws that criminalise independent reporting and the Law on Mass Media; deplores continuous and increasing censorship, including of the internet, by Russian authorities;
    3. Strongly condemns the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, and reiterates its call for his immediate and unconditional release, as well as of the hundreds of other Russian citizens baselessly detained only for having the courage of demonstrating in favour of democracy and peace or for stepping-up for their rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly; calls on the Russian authorities to improve conditions in prisons and detention facilities in order to meet international standards; considers securing humanitarian, health and safety standards for the Sakharov Prize Laureate Alexei Navalny our outmost political priority and calls on Russian authorities to take all necessary measures to fully secure his rights during his unlawful detention; 
    4. Considers the repression against Alexei Navalny, his supporters, media and civil society, part of actions meant as a prelude to the crime of war of aggression, as political pluralism and free media is the best safeguard against and obstacle for international aggression by an undemocratic government; considers our efforts to support freedom of opinion and media for Russian citizens part of our efforts to combat war and aggression in Ukraine;
    5. Deplores the decisions by Russian courts on the forced closure of International Memorial and Memorial Human Rights Centre; condemns the continued warnings by Roskomnadzor against Novaya Gazeta, concerning censorship and alleged violations against the “foreign agents” law, resulting in the newspaper’s announcement to cease operations until the end of the war in Ukraine; equally deplores the Russian Prosecutor-General’s request for Roskomnadzor to restrict access to Echo of Moscow and Dozhd, due to their coverage of the war in Ukraine; commends the role of these outlets, as well as so many other independent organisations and news outlets that have since been closed down, have played in uncovering the truth and providing facts about the crimes of the Soviet regime and the Russian government, as well as their commitment to human rights;
    6. Reiterates that the free and independent work of civil society organisations and the media is a cornerstone of a democratic society; therefore calls on the Commission, the EEAS and the Member States to monitor the media situation in Russia, increase support for remaining civil society, independent NGOs, human rights defenders, and independent media active in Russia, including sustainable and flexible financial assistance; calls on the EU Delegation and Member States’ representations in Russia to publicly show solidarity with those persecuted;
    7. Calls on the HR/VP and the Council to effectively use the EU’s global human rights sanctions mechanism and impose restrictive measures on all Russian officials involved in the crackdown against independent civil society and media, and peaceful protesters, as well as in this latest case against Mr Navalny;
    8. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to prevent and counter the spread of disinformation, including propaganda, and strengthen independent media; welcomes therefore the development of specific platforms and news in Russian and Ukrainian language; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to continue to enhance alternative online Russian-language information on the unfolding developments to counter disinformation, to continue to ensure that EU public statements are translated into Russian and also to address Russian-speaking audiences and platforms;
    9. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to host banned media teams in the EU and to develop a joint platform for media in exile, as well as to support technologies that enable users to use the internet to exercise their fundamental rights, in particular the freedom of information and expression, and to support the strive for democracy and the rule of law, by establishing technological means to circumvent communication surveillance and the blocking of websites and applications in Russia, including low tech via M-waves, a VPN Russia platform, anonymisation networks, and satellite TV;
    10. Calls in particular to explore effective ways of countering war propaganda originating from Russia, through outlets such as Rossija, The First Channel and NTV, as they spread content approving and misinforming about the war of aggression;
    11. Calls on the EU Delegation and national diplomatic representations in Russia to closely monitor the situation and trials on the ground and to offer those concerned any support that they may need, including direct financial assistance in order to pay lawyers and experts; calls on Member States to refuse any future extradition requests for Russian nationals for offenses under laws that criminalise independent war reporting and protesting the war;
    12. Urges the Member States to help protect threatened or banned Russian NGOs and media, and to allow them to operate from EU territory if needed, as well as to provide emergency visas for independent journalists and activists to be able to leave the country and find temporary shelter in the EU;
    13. Urges the Member States, the Council and the Commission to create ways of safe migration and secure humanitarian status for threatened Russian opposition, civil society and media representatives, including securing their long-term residence opportunities and opportunity to work in the European Union; calls on financial institutions, banks, credit card companies and government authorities to introduce screening procedures for application of sanctions against Russian citizens in the EU, in order to allow opposition activists and independent civil society and media representatives to keep access to their financial assets necessary to secure their existence in the European Union;
    14. Asks the Council, the EEAS, and the Commission to mainstream human rights and civil society consultation across any dialogues between the EU, its member states and Russia, as well as live up to their commitment to gender mainstreaming;
    15. Urges the HR/VP and the Member States to take coordinated action with like-minded countries to raise awareness and push back against the restrictions of fundamental freedoms and human rights by the Russian authorities, including through high-level and public interventions, coordinated demarches, sustained scrutiny at international and regional human rights fora, as well as regular human rights impact assessments to ensure that engagement with Russia does not undermine human rights objectives and do not directly or indirectly contribute to human rights violations;
    16. Notes that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights observed a rise in Russophobia in many countries, and urges all EU citizens not to equate Russian citizens to the brutal action of their leadership in Ukraine and to recognize that they also bear the brunt of the ongoing repression in Russia;
    17. 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 to the President, Government and the Parliament of the Russian Federation.
    Last updated: 5 April 2022
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