Russia: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the ruling to label Alexei Navalny’s organisation and his regional offices “extremist groups”© European Union, 2021, EC - Audiovisual Service, High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell attends a joint press conference with his counterpart Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow at the MFA Grand Mansion on February 05, 2021.
Yesterday’s ruling by a Moscow Court to label Mr Alexei Navalny’s organisations as “extremist groups” marks the most serious effort to date by the Russian Government to suppress the independent political opposition and anti-corruption investigations, and to eliminate Mr Navalny’s political networks’ influence ahead of the State Duma elections in September, and beyond. It is an unfounded decision that confirms a negative pattern of a systematic crackdown on human rights and freedoms which are enshrined in the Russian constitution. This ruling will have far-reaching consequences for the Russian civil society, opposition and critical voices. We urge the Russian Government to abide fully by its international obligations and commitments it has made, including in the Council of Europe and the OSCE, to uphold these rights.
The European Union repeats its call for Mr Navalny’s immediate and unconditional release as we consider his sentencing politically motivated and running counter to Russia’s international human rights obligations. In this regard, we also expect Russia to fulfil its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, including to comply with the interim measure of the European Court of Human Rights with regard to the nature and extent of risk to Mr Navalny’s life. The Russian authorities are responsible for Mr Navalny’s safety and health in the penal colony, to which we hold them to account.