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Procedure : 2013/2667(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0287/2013

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 13/06/2013 - 12.1
CRE 13/06/2013 - 12.1

Votes :

PV 13/06/2013 - 13.1
CRE 13/06/2013 - 13.1

Texts adopted :


PDF 143kWORD 70k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0269/2013

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 122 of the Rules of Procedure

on Rule of law in Russia (2013/2667(RSP))

Kristiina Ojuland, Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, Marietje Schaake, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Sarah Ludford, Louis Michel, Leonidas Donskis, Edward McMillan-Scott, Jelko Kacin, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Robert Rochefort, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Marielle de Sarnez, on behalf of the ALDE Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on Rule of law in Russia (2013/2667(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous reports and resolutions on Russia, in particular its resolutions of 13 December 2012, of 13 September 2012, of 15 March 2012, of 16 February 2012 and of 17 February 2011 on the rule of law in Russia,


– having regard to recent statements by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, including those on 28 April 2013 on the administrative fines against GOLOS, on 26 March 2013 on the situation of NGOs in the Russian Federation, on 30 January 2013 on LGBTI rights in Russia and on 25 October 2012 on the new law on treason in Russia,

– having regard to the ongoing negotiations for a new agreement providing a new comprehensive framework for EU-Russia relations, as well as to the ‘Partnership for Modernisation’ initiated in 2010 on the basis of a commitment made by Russia to the rule of law as a fundamental basis for the modernisation of Russia,

– having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, which states that everyone shall be entitled within a reasonable time to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law,

– having regard to previous reports and resolutions on Russia adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in particular Resolution 1896 (2012), adopted on 2 October 2012, on the honouring of obligations and commitments by the Russian Federation, and Resolution 1900 (2012), adopted on 3 October 2012, on the definition of political prisoners,

– having regard to the EU-Russia human rights consultations,

– having regard to its annual reports on human rights in the world,

– having regard to its award of the 2009 Sakharov Prize for the Freedom of Thought to Memorial, a Russian non-governmental organisation campaigning, inter alia, for the rights of political prisoners in Russia,

– having regard to Rule 110 of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas the European Union seeks to enhance and deepen its strategic partnership with Russia on the basis of mutual commitment to shared universal values including pluralist democracy, the rule of law, human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, respect for human dignity and equality,

B. whereas Russia is bound to meet the responsibilities and obligations of its commitments under international law; whereas like all Member States of the European Union, Russia is a member of the Council of Europe and is therefore committed to upholding, promoting and defending the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as European values of democracy, the rule of law and human rights,


C. whereas freedom of the press and media, both online and offline, is a crucial aspect of a democratic and open society, as well as being fundamental in countering corruption and safeguarding human rights and the rule of law,


D. whereas media platforms are essential for the exercise of the right to freedom of expression; whereas the independent press, as a collective manifestation of free expression, is one of the key actors in the media landscape, acting as a watchdog of democracy,


E. whereas a vibrant, diverse and free civil society is essential to the development of pluralist democracy and the strengthening of civil and political rights;


F. whereas recent legislation, officially aimed at protecting children online, grants broad powers to the Russian authorities to take down and block internet websites, to draw a ‘Single Register’ of banned websites, inter alia by deploying Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) software, by the Roskomnadzor (the Agency for the Supervision of Information Technology, Communications and Mass Media) as stated by the Ministry of Communications; whereas digital freedoms and social media are subject to ongoing restrictions by the Russian authorities and bloggers have faced harassment and intimidation;


G. whereas, since the return to the Presidency of Vladimir Putin in May 2012 Russian authorities have launched an unprecedented crackdown on non-governmental organisations; whereas the organisations targeted include Amnesty, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch Transparency International and GOLOS, an independent election monitoring organisation; whereas some of the NGOs targeted by these repressive actions have previously been the beneficiaries of European Union funding for the promotion of human rights and civil society, in Russia and elsewhere,


H. whereas this crackdown has included actions such as police raids, confiscation of property, administrative fines and other measures aimed at preventing and dissuading civil society organisations from carrying out their work; whereas recent laws against treason, participation in demonstrations and registration of foreign NGOs have been used as a pretext for the Russian state's actions,


I. whereas anti-corruption campaigner and social activist Alexei Navalny is currently on trial in Russia on charges that appear to be politically motivated attempt to punish him as one of the most prominent opponents of the government; whereas Navalny has consistently exposed massive corruption within the highest levels of the Russian state apparatus;


J. whereas prosecutors continue to pursue opposition activists who participated in the 'March of Millions' on 6 May 2012, the day before the inauguration of President Putin; whereas, according to reliable independent reports, the demonstration was forcibly disrupted at Bolotnaya Square by riot police who subjected participants to disproportionate force and arbitrary violence; whereas reports by the Presidential Human Rights Council and an independent investigative commission comprising senior public figures both blamed the Russian authorities and police for the violence; whereas police arrested many demonstrators and prosecutors have subsequently charged around 20 people with taking part in a mass riot; whereas the case against these individuals has been widely denounced as politically motivated; whereas at least one of those charged was subsequently convicted and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison, and many others who have been charged face even longer prison sentences if convicted; whereas seven of those charged have launched proceedings against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights; whereas Alexander Dolmatov, who fled Russia after being accused of orchestrating violence at the protest, committed suicide in Rotterdam in January 2013 after his application for political asylum was rejected by the Dutch authorities


K. whereas members of the Presidential Human Rights Council have complained of harassment, intimidation, interrogations, searches of their offices and property and other measures carried out by Russian law enforcement agents;


L. whereas in April 2013 President Putin publicly stated that there were no political prisoners in Russia; whereas he made a similar assertion while Prime Minister in February 2012,


M. whereas Russia continues to detain, prosecute and imprison its own citizens on account of their political beliefs and civic engagement, in defiance of the country's constitution and international legal commitments; whereas the political manipulation of justice in Russia is apparent, notably in the prosecutions of Alexei Navalny, the members of the feminist collective Pussy Riot, Khodorkovsky and others; in the absence of progress towards bringing to justice the perpetrators of human rights abuses, including those responsible for the deaths of Sergei Magnitsky, Anna Politkovskaya, Stanislaw Markelow, Natalia Estimirova, Vasily Alexanian and others; and in the posthumous prosecution of Magnitsky, in contravention of all legal norms and precedent;


N. whereas Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have been declared prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International,


1. Takes the view that the problems with democracy, rule of law and human rights in Russia are wide spread and deeply rooted, characterised, inter alia, by a repressive political climate, curtailment of fundamental liberties and the gradual erosion of independent civil society;


2. Calls on the Russian government to take concrete steps to address this deterioration, in particular by ceasing the campaign of harassment against civil society organisations and activists; calls on the Russian executive and legislature to reconsider recently adopted legislative acts and measures that conflict with the country's stated commitments on human rights and fundamental freedoms as a member of the Council of Europe,  including the provisions of the “foreign agents” law requiring organizations that accept foreign funding and engage in “political activities” to register as “foreign agents";


3. Asserts its belief that Russia would benefit from a strong and active civil society, which would help to reinforce Russia's stated commitments to freedom of expression, freedom of association, pluralist democracy and the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms; calls on Russia to take all possible steps to develop a social and political environment in which civil society organisations can flourish,


4. Urges Russia to strengthen the rule of law by ensuring fair and impartial trials based on the inviolability and independence of the judiciary system, independent oversight of public prosecutors' activities and a commitment to due process including meaningful appellate rights;


5. Urges the Russian authorities to ensure the freedom of the press and media, both online and offline, to foster a pluralist media landscape, to allow media platforms, journalists and bloggers to fulfil their key role in Russian society independently, to safeguard the free flow of information and to ensure freedom after expression;


6. Stresses the importance of freedom of information laws which is essential for journalists and civil society to do their work and to do their work as watchdogs;


7. Deplores the ongoing restriction of digital freedoms by the Russian authorities, is concerned about the broad powers granted to the Roskomnadzor to draft a black list of websites, reiterates the fundamental importance of respect for rights and freedoms online, as well as unrestricted access to an open internet, calls on the Russian authorities to refrain from massive deployment of DPI software and to respect the digital freedoms of the Russian population;


8. Notes, with regard to the case of Alexei Navalny, his tenacious efforts to expose corruption in Russia; expresses concern at the allegedly politically motivated nature of his prosecution; urges the Russian authorities to ensure that he is accorded his full rights and that his trial meets internationally accepted standards of due process,


9. Urges Russia, with regard to the ‘March of Millions’, to commission an independent inquiry into the Bolotnaya Square violence and in particular to investigate allegations of police brutality and excessive use of force against demonstrators; expresses concern at the allegedly politically motivated nature of the prosecutions linked to the violence at Bolotnaya Square; reminds Russia of its obligations under domestic constitutional and international law to ensure that all defendants are afforded their full rights and are tried in accordance with internationally accepted standards of due process,


10. Urges Russia to take all possible measures to ensure that all members of the Presidential Human Rights Council, and more generally all those working in defence of human rights in Russia, are afforded protection from harassment and intimidation,


11. Calls on Russia to release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally, and to take prompt steps to rehabilitate those released, vacate their convictions and allow them to resume a full and unfettered role in public life,


12. Urges the High Representative to raise personally with her Russian interlocutors at every opportunity the systemic problem in Russia with regard to the rule of law and human rights; urges the High Representative to ensure that during the next EU-Russia summit, part of the agenda is dedicated to a discussion of the deterioration in the rule of law and human rights; requests that the High Representative reports back in person to the Parliament on this dialogue,

13. Calls on the High Representative and the European External Action Service to ensure that the cases of all political prisoners are raised in EU-Russia human rights consultations, and that Russia's representatives in these consultations are formally requested to respond in each case,

14. Calls on the High Representative and the European External Action Service to insist that future EU-Russia human rights consultations should incorporate officials from various Russian ministries concerned with human rights and not only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

15. Urges the High Representative and the European External Action Service to ensure that the Union seeks every opportunity, within the boundaries of Russian domestic law, to continue to engage with and support Russian civil society organisations including those working to promote the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; urges the High Representative to raise with her Russian counterparts the increasingly restrictive laws and actions targeting Russian civil society organisations, and set out reasons why these laws should be revoked or substantially amended,

16. Insists, in line with its previous resolutions on Russia, that further progress in the Union's strategic partnership with Russia, including on the issue of visa liberalisation, is linked to tangible and sustained progress on the rule of law and human rights and is accompanied by an equivalent action in accordance with the Parliament's recommendation to the Council on the Magnitsky case, adopted on 23 October 2012,

17. Notes the view of the respected and independent organisation Human Rights Watch that the situation in Russia as regards the deterioration of human rights and fundamental freedoms is unprecedented in the country’s post-Soviet history; requests the Parliament's subcommittee on human rights to commission an expert report on the situation in Russia jointly with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, considering the close relations, mutual interests and established cooperation mechanisms that exist between the two institutions,

18. Calls on the European Union to adopt EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on human rights in Russia which would serve to bind the 27 EU Member States and EU institutions to a common message and approach with regards to human rights in Russia as well as to provide support to all those in Russia working to protect human rights;


19. Instructs its President to forward this resolution containing the European Parliament's recommendations to the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service, and, for their information, to the Government of the Russian Federation and the Russian State Duma.


Last updated: 11 June 2013Legal notice