"The authorities claim to be supported by the majority of citizens who are in favour of the current regime. But I am sure that people answering the social poll questions simply say what they think will protect them. I am confident that the majority of citizens don't want to go back to the USSR, don't want their rights and freedoms to be trampled", - Mikhail Kasyanov, Co-Leader of RPR-PARNAS, stated opening the conference "Crisis in Russia-EU relations: causes and ways out" in Moscow.
The President of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament, former Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt addressed the conference in his video message. He pointed out that "the Russian people didn't invade and annex Crimea, the Russian people didn't infiltrate and undermine Eastern Ukraine, the Russian people aren't holding onto Lugansk or Donetsk. And it is why the European Union's sanctions are not against the people of Russia. They target those responsible for an irresponsible and aggressive foreign policy within the Kremlin."
"From the side of the European Union we need to liberalize visas for ordinary Ruissian citizens, for students, scientists. It is important we find each other again. It is why I am also very impressed by the clear political message in your Manifesto, your party's European choice", - he said.
The first session of the conference discussed European security and economic relations. Related speeches were made by the Academic Supervisor of the Higher School of Economics Yevgeny Yasin, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Russia Sven-Olov Carlsson, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution Lilia Shevtsova, Secretary General of the Free Democtaric Party of Germany Nicola Beer. They touched upon the European security system crisis - its causes, consequences and possible ways out; sanctions and counter-sanctions, their economic and political impact; evaluated scenarios for the development of Russia-EU relations.
The second session was dedicated to human rights and democratic vaues. The president of the INDEM Foundation Georgy Satarov, human rights defender Valery Borshchev, member of the Bundestag Marieluise Beck, senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Initiative Ellen Bork, the head of the Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights Yuri Dzhibladze analyzed the fulfilment of Russia's international obligations and its own Constitution, the scenarios and risks of mobilization and totalitarianization of the current regime, the possibilities of feedback.