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EVENTS

17 June 2011 

"The authorities now use the law as a mechanism to solve their problems"

Former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov hosted several prominent European and Russian leaders at a conference in Moscow on Thursday. "At last year's conference, we tried to answer the question about the European way of Russia. We wanted to understand what prevents Russia from moving along the European path? Today, under the auspices of ELDR we are holding the conference "The European path for Russia - the rule of law and the current realities." And we need to answer the question, at what stage of rule of law are we? What steps should we take in the upcoming election? ", - said Mikhail Kasyanov, opening the conference.

"Today not a single position of the Constitution is implemented, and the slogan used by the dissidents - "Respect the Constitution!" - is still relevant today," - said the politician. Kasyanov said, "it is not true that Russian citizens do not respect the law, as the authorities claim. Widespread disregard of the law comes from the authorities themselves. The authorities now use the law as a mechanism to solve their problems."

Finding no support in the Russian courts, Russian citizens apply to the European Court of Human Rights. 94% of the ECHR decisions are made in favour of the plaintiffs - which means that the fundamental rights of citizens are violated, he said.

"The other aspect - the fulfillment of the law in Russia is not aimed at achieving justice, is not fair. And we see that the convictions were dominated - only half a percent of acquittal are made in Russia today. Another figure - Russia ranks second in the world in terms of the number of prisoners," - Kasyanov said.

The conference, organized by the Russian People's Democratic Union under the auspices of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform (ELDR), was attended by MEPs Guy Verhofstadt (political leader of the "Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe" (ALDE), Anne Brasseur (ALDE group leader in Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe), Kristiina Ojuland (MEP, the Reform Party of Estonia), judge, retired COP Tamara Morshchakova, sociologist Lev Gudkov, political analysts Lilia Shevtsova and Georgy Satarov, human rights activists Sergey Kovalev and Lyudmila Alekseeva. Speakers called on the EU not to recognize the results of the Russian elections and not to compromise on matters of compliance with the Russian authorities for human rights and constitutional freedoms.

Mikhail Kasyanov also said in his speech that he has little hope the Kremlin will permit the People's Freedom Party. "There is more and more awareness for the fact that this which is happening in Russia cannot continue," he said. "And there is also more and more understanding in the international community that it is necessary to stand up and criticize what is happening."

According to Verhofstadt, the elections for the Duma next December and the presidency in March 2012 will be a litmus test for free democracy. He said Europe should speak out more and do whatever it can do to make Russia comply with its international obligations.

"2011 is certainly a crucial year for Russia - as crucial as it was, I think, in 1990," Verhofstadt said. "I think that both elections shall define the path for the coming decades of this great country. And that is why we are here with this delegation, to confirm our commitment from the European side to a democratic and to a European Russia."

 

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