Ms Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Mr Charles Michel, President of the European Council
Brussels, 22 April 2021
Dear President von der Leyen, dear President Michel,
The deteriorating state of health of Alexei Navalny is an alarming sign for everyone concerned with the state of rule of law and human rights in Russia. After last year's failed poisoning attempt, Navalny's current imprisonment and lack of proper medical treatment may constitute a more prolonged - but just as disgraceful - attempt on his life. This campaign of persecution proves that the Russian authorities are moving forward on the path of oppression, using the apparatus of power against their own people.
The systemic harassment of Alexei Navalny is a central example of repression and persecution of Russian civic leaders and activists who have exposed political corruption and abuses of power by representatives of the authoritarian regime. Navalny received a large amount of support for his uncompromising attitude in matters most important to democracy and the rule of law. But words of support are not enough. The EU must take immediate and decisive action to save Navalny's life and prevent Putin's regime from claiming yet another victim.
The ongoing occupation of Crimea, the blocking of the Kerch Strait, the military buildup at Ukraine's borders, and the recently exposed involvement of Russian intelligence services in the explosion of an ammunition depot in Czechia are recent examples of actions which showcase that Putin's regime is perfectly capable of using violence to pursue its geopolitical ambitions. Europe must give a firm response against these hostile actions.
In this light it is particularly unacceptable that despite the strong opposition in the European Council, from the European Commission and from the European Parliament, the North Stream II project is still kept alive by the support of the German Government. If operational, the project would have major detrimental environmental impacts, increase Europe's dependence on Russian energy supplies and could pave the way for a major escalation in the Russian campaign of military aggression against Ukraine.
Therefore, we demand that:
- the EU does everything in its power so that Navalny receives urgent and proper medical care and is released from custody;
- the EU enforces its efforts that Russian authorities end the campaign of repression against Navalny and his associates and release all detainees;
- the EU strongly increases its attempts to bring pressure on the German government to give up its political support for the North Stream II pipeline, building on the very clear stance within the EU Council and the European Parliament;
- the EU makes a real effort to use the instruments at its disposal to push back against the corrupt networks and the money-laundering practices of Russian oligarchs and the Putin mafia;
- the EU increases support and cooperation with Russian civil society, academia, independent media and democratic opposition.
We reiterate our support to EU sanctions on Russia linked to both the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbass, and to their extension as long as these crises are not solved.
Moreover, we stand with Russian civic leaders and activists in the fight for justice and democracy. We hope to see in the future a democratic, prosperous, globally engaged and sustainable Russia at peace with its neighbours and global partners.
Evelyne Huytebroeck & Thomas Waitz, co-chairs, European Green Party
Małgorzata Tracz & Wojciech Kubalewski, co-chairs, Partia Zieloni