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The European Parliament (EP) has taken a much more favourable attitude toward Russia at the same time as the human rights situation in Russia has continued to deteriorate. This is revealed in a February 2013 research paper by the Italian political scientist, Stefano Braghiroli, for the Centre for EU-Russia Studies at the University of Tartu.
We, the undersigned, urge that Vladimir Putin, Russia’s Prime Minister, be placed on a “No Entry List” in the European Union and the United States. Strong sanctions by the West are vital and urgently needed in order to stop the threat coming from Putin’s KGB clique. Putin and his cronies are not above international law. His abuse of human rights in Russia is not just a Russian problem.
Under Putin’s rule, Russia has become a “sovereign democracy” and a “controlled democracy.” Putin has turned Russia into a kleptocracy. Putin and his cronies are above the law. Is it purely coincidence that hundreds of the sharpest and well-informed critics of the regime (politicians, journalists, human rights activists) have been murdered over the ten years of Putin’s autocracy?
A leaked German study has analyzed how "peak oil" might change the global economy. The study is a product of the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Centre, a German military think tank. The team of authors, led by Lt Col Thomas Will, uses sometimes-dramatic language to depict the consequences of an irreversible depletion of raw materials. It warns of shifts in the global balance of power and of the formation of new relationships based on interdependency.
The scenarios outlined by the Bundeswehr Transformation Centre are drastic. Even more explosive, politically, are recommendations to the government that the energy experts have put forward based on these scenarios. They argue that "states dependent on oil imports" will be forced to "show more pragmatism toward oil-producing states in their foreign policy." Political priorities will have to be somewhat subordinated, they claim, to the overriding concern of securing energy supplies.
Germany would have to be more flexible in relation toward Russia's foreign policy objectives. The relationship with Russia is of fundamental importance for German access to oil and gas, the study says. "For Germany, this involves a balancing act between stable and privileged relations with Russia and the sensitivities of (Germany's) eastern neighbors." For Germany to guarantee its energy security, it should be accommodating in relation to Moscow's foreign policy objectives.
Address to the Presidents of Finland and the Russian Federation by participants of the 4th annual Finnish-Russian Civic Forum, FINROSFORUM 2010
Helsinki, 20 July 2010
Dear President Halonen,
Dear President Medvedev,
While you are meeting today in Finland, we, representatives of Russian and Finnish civil societies, are also gathering here to discuss how non-governmental actors can contribute to cooperation between our two nations and to building a common European space based on the principles of democracy, rule of law and human rights. We would like to draw your attention to the following concerns, which are in the centre of our discussions today.
Like you, dear Presidents, we also want to see Russia a modern and prosperous country. However, we believe that without ensuring fundamental freedoms, building strong democratic institutions and an independent judiciary any technological modernisation efforts will fail. It goes without saying that free and fair elections and independence of the media are essential to this process.
“We are not a member of the EU, but we are a European country,” said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in an interview with Western journalists on the eve of the G-20 summit and a key meeting with President Barack Obama in Toronto. His words are worth thinking about.
The Russia we know today has been looking for its place in the world ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union 20 years ago. Stripped of the shell of Soviet empire, the country’s identity has been in flux. The search is at once geopolitical, philosophical and profoundly psychological.
The global financial crisis has hit Russia hard. The country’s gross domestic product declined almost 9 percent in 2009, and income from energy sales have dropped sharply. Inflation and unemployment are both rising, and the number of anti-government protests is increasing across the country. Against this background, Medvedev has sought to highlight the need for a thorough political and economic modernization of Russia. He has described Russia as “a primitive and chronically corrupt economy based on raw materials” and fixated on the old habit of relying on the state to solve its problems.
Lack of hard evidence, boilerplate answers from Russian envoys and poor follow-up have seen EU-Russia human rights talks add up to little more than diplomats getting to know each other. EU delegates at the 11th EU-Russia “human rights consultations,” held in Brussels on 28 April 2010, gave the Russian side a list of needling questions about 31 individual cases, including big names such as oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and anti-fraud lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, as well as several hardly-known victims. The union did not receive any real answers to its queries in April and it does not expect to receive any at the 12th round of talks under the upcoming Belgian EU presidency. “We have never learned anything we did not know already,” an EU contact said.