MEP Kristiina Ojuland has expressed concern that politics in Russia are being predetermined ahead of the next elections by what she called a concerted policy of the Justice Ministry refusing to register new parties.
"The last to be denied was an application from the People's Freedom Party," said Ojuland on July 7, the same day that the European Parliament adopted a resolution denouncing the Russian authorities' decision. "In addition, one of the leaders of the party, Boris Nemtsov, was hit yesterday with a prohibition on leaving the country for six months."
Ojuland said that the future of relations between the EU and Russia should depend on whether the country functions according to the rule of law and respect for democracy and basic human rights in Russia. "The Kremlin is disregarding its obligations as a member of the Council of Europe," said Ojuland. She warned that the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly has the right to refuse to recognize MPs who are installed in non-free elections.
"The European Union must demand that the Kremlin repeal all decisions and regulations on non-registration of parties in Russia that are not in conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. "Putin has time until September to reconsider, but it is already clear now how the game is rigged," she said in closing.
The European Parliament's resolution called on Russia to allow free and fair elections and let a long-term observer mission to be based in Russia.