Tuesday

19th Sep 2017

EU official predicts major anti-Putin rally

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has predicted there will be a big turnout at a pro-democracy rally in Moscow on Saturday (4 February).

Reading to MEPs from a written statement in Brussels on Wednesday, she said: "The protests that started in December are set to continue. The movement has grown and we can expect a large mobilisation this Saturday."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

She added: "There is a rising group of people calling for real participation, for more decisive measures to rein in corruption and impunity, and to give more breathing space to democratic processes. And they are ready to express their opinion. Peacefully."

She castigated Prime Minister Putin for saying he will "swap jobs" with the president in an election due on 4 March. She also told Putin to let an opposition candidate - Grigory Yavlinsky - run in the vote.

In unscripted comments, she noted her envoys report a "change in the atmosphere" in Russia and that "things are beginning to change."

Most MEPs from the mainstream political groups backed Ashton's line.

German left-winger Knut Fleckenstein, who heads the parliament's Russia delegation, said: "We need to express solidarity for those who in recent days and months have joined the protests."

But for her part, Monika Flasikova Benova, a left-wing MEP from Slovakia, said the EU should put its own house in order on increasingly authoritarian countries, such as Hungary, before finger-wagging at Russia.

She was quickly pulled up by Polish centre-right deputy Marek Migalksi, who said: "Are you seriously making a comparison between these two countries [Hungary and Russia]?"

Facebook petitions indicate that 25,000-or-so people plan to attend the rally in Moscow. Thousands more are expected at pro-Putin counter-marches.

If the numbers live up to expectations, it will be the third major demonstration since international monitors last December said parliamentary elections were rigged.

"The EU should clearly say that the elections were not free and fair ... People in Russia need to hear this. Then it will be up to us to take the next step," Russian opposition leader Mikhail Kasyanov told EUobserver in a recent interview.

Opinion

Russia's post-BRIC election

With the results for the Russian parliamentary election almost all counted, it is clear that Vladimir Putin and his party United Russia have received both another landslide victory and a bruising defeat.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  2. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  3. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  6. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  7. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  8. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel
  9. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Urges Bigger Global Role for Emerging Economies
  10. EU2017EEAre We Socially Insured in the Future of Work?
  11. European Jewish CongressFrench Authorities to Root Out "Societal Antisemitism" After Jewish Family Assaulted
  12. European Federation of Local Energy CompaniesClean Energy for All? On 10.10 Top-Level Speakers Present the Clean Energy Package