Plenary speech - Russia: sentencing of demonstrators involved in the Bolotnaya Square events

Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the ALDE Group – Mr President, in the light of the tensions in Ukraine and aggression by Russia, whether in Crimea or in Syria, it is easy to forget that Russia is, in fact, a member of the Council of Europe and of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. I believe President Putin would prefer it if we were to forget about the domestic human rights situation in Russia. But we will not. The treatment of the Bolotnaya Square demonstrators and, in particular, the house arrest of Aleksei Navalny are reminders of the pressure not only on freedom of assembly but also on freedom of speech in the media or on the internet. They are reminders of the severe repression exerted against Russian civil society as well as political opponents. We must continue to condemn such human rights violations in the strongest possible terms, and we must and will show Russia that there will be consequences. Russia should, at least, act in accordance with the international agreements that it has signed up to.