14 September 2012The European Parliament has adopted a resolution that berates Russia’s judicial system. According to the authors, Russian authorities have regularly used their country’s courts to resolve a spate of political tasks.
The Russian President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that Moscow opposes the resolution’s criticism and doubts an unbiased approach by the authors of the document titled On Use of Justice for Political Purposes in Russia.
The authors said that they meticulously studied several trials that had occurred in Russia in the past couple of years. The results allegedly prompted European MPs to question independence and an unbiased approach of Russia’s judicial institutions. In this connection, the authors urged the European Commission and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to exert permanent pressure on Russian authorities, something that they said would prod Moscow to adhere to OSCE’s norms related to human rights, the rule of law and independence of courts. This pressure may be fulfilled by the West with the help of at least two options, including the support of Russian opposition, says Sergei Mikheyev, head of the Moscow-based Center of Political Environment.
"During the current stage, the West doesn’t care about slogans that opposition activists use, Mikheyev says, adding that these could be slogans that infuriate the West. In other words, they can support ultra-left or ultra-wing, on the one hand. On the other, the pressure can be exerted through such diplomatic steps as resolutions and obstruction during various international conferences."
As for the European Parliament’s resolution, it mentions sentences to members of the Russian all-girl punk group Pussy Riot and the detention of opposition activists Alexander Navalny, Boris Nemtsov and Sergei Udaltsov during mass protest rallies in Moscow earlier this year. The resolution also singles out a decision to strip opposition activist Gennady Gudkov of a State Duma Deputy mandate, a move that is perceive din Europe as an attempt to crack down on the opposition. Despite the resolution’s stern language, Moscow is unlikely to respond in kind, believes political analyst Pavel Salin.
"The resolution is unable to damage Russia’s interests in Europe which is why Moscow’s reaction will most likely be restricted to verbal expressions, Salin says. All the more so that Europe and Russia have two mutually advantageous interests. Europe is interested in Russia as an energy supplier and a market for its goods. This is something that by no means depends on the European Parliament’s resolution."
For her part, Catherine Ashton assured that the EU is ‘very interested in a stable, prosperous and democratic Russia that was described by Ashton as a ‘very complicated yet very important partner.’