European Parliament: Russian State Duma elections may mot be recognized

The European Parliament at the plenary session on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a report on relations with Russia, in which it calls on EU countries not to recognize the Russian State Duma as legitimate if the three-day elections on September 17, 18 and 19 are rigged.

494 MEPs voted in favor of the document, prepared by the EP Committee on International Affairs for the European Commission and the European Council, with 103 votes "against" and 72 abstentions.

" The current Russian regime is threatening peace and security in Europe by continuing with systemic human rights violations against its people and aggressive behaviour in its foreign policy, including but not limited to: large-scale military exercises and military build-ups; the illegal and violent occupation and annexation of Crimea; the violation of the territorial integrity and the destabilisation of Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova; support for frozen conflicts and its failure to respect ceasefire agreements in Georgia and Ukraine; alleged acts of terrorism on the territory of EU Member States such as Czechia; cyberattacks and attacks on sensitive infrastructure in EU Member States; violations of international law," the document published on the EP website reads.

The situation in Russia, according to the authors of the report, "is deteriorating dreadfully because of President Putin’s increasing President Putin’s increasing repression of democratic forces, the aim of which is to silence his domestic critics, the political opposition and anti-corruption activists, limit their freedom of assembly and obstruct their activities and those of the Russian civil society, as demonstrated by the detainment of more than 11 000 peaceful demonstrators by Russian authorities just two weeks after the arrest of Alexei Navalny, bringing the total number of Russians detained since January 2021 to more than 15 000; whereas Russia has continued to unlawfully detain its citizens and target opposition leaders, independent journalists, protesters and human rights activists; whereas the prison conditions in Russia remain dreadful and whereas those imprisoned are subject to torture, harassment and physical attacks."

Putin's regime is a "stagnating authoritarian kleptocracy led by a president-for-life surrounded by a circle of oligarchs," while Russia's economy is dependent on oil and gas exports, "uncompetitive" and lives in " massive state-level corruption," the report reads.

Amendments to the Russian Constitution that "waived" Putin's term, according to the EP, were "illegal" and not only allowed Putin to be elected for a sixth term in 2024, but also "limited the rights of citizens to a fair trial", since they gave Putin the right to nominate the judges of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts.

In this regard, EU countries should " be prepared not to recognise the Parliament of Russia and to consider asking for Russia’s suspension from international organisations with parliamentary assemblies, in particular the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, if the 2021 parliamentary elections in Russia are recognised as fraudulent and having been conducted in violation of democratic principles and international law," the report says.

According to the EP, it is already "simply impossible" to consider the elections fair. The authorities "intensified repressions" and "destroyed political competition", repeating the scenario of the Belarusian dictatorship of August 2020.

The EU should " o remain in office beyond the end of his current and final presidential mandate on 7 May 2024," as well as develop a detailed strategy to reduce dependence on oil and gas from Russia, the document reads.

Part of this problem is solved by the " he European Green Deal ", write the MEPs. By 2030, oil imports should be reduced by 78-79%, and gas - by 58-67%.

Finally, the EU should "use its leverage and call for the exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT payment system to deter Russian authorities from engaging in further aggressive behaviour and should be prepared to phase out its imports of oil and gas from Russia if the Russian authorities continue their threats against Member States and military action against EaP countries in the neighbourhood”, the authors of the report suggest.

  Duma, EU, Russia