Saturday

1st Oct 2022

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."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

News in Brief

  1. EU ministers adopt measures to tackle soaring energy bills
  2. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  3. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  4. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  5. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  6. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  7. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  8. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Putin declares holy war on Western 'satanism'
  2. Two elections and 'Macron's club' in focus Next WEEK
  3. EU agrees windfall energy firm tax — but split on gas-price cap
  4. Ukrainian chess prodigy: 'We are not going to resign ... anywhere'
  5. Going Down Under — EU needs to finish trade deal with Australia
  6. MEPs worry Russian disinfo weakens support for Ukraine
  7. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan
  8. Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us