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Below is the speech given by the Irish MEP, Clare Daly, on behalf of The Left Group

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

European Parliament,
Brussels

Visit of the VPC/HR to Russia in the light of the recent crackdown on protestors and the opposition (debate)



Madam President,

listening to the relentless Russiaphobia in this place, why are people surprised that Russia sees no point in engaging with the EU?

I’m as happy as anybody else to stand up for anybody’s rights, including Navalny’s. But let’s be honest about him. He’s a vicious, anti—immigrant racist with maybe four percent of the support, rallying hundreds and thousands in cities of millions – hardly a mass movement. We wouldn’t be discussing him at all if he’d been arrested anywhere else other than in Russia.

Meanwhile, Julian Assange has been incarcerated for almost ten years for exposing US war crimes. We can’t mention his name. Tomorrow, Pablo Hasél, a Catalan rapper, is going to prison for his lyrics. Where is the call to sanction Spain?

Tomorrow, 62-year-old Clare Grady is going to prison in West Virginia for her role in the non-violent Plowshares action against Trident. Where is the demand to break off links with the US, or the outcry about the hundreds of people arrested in this city on a protest a week ago?

Nowhere – because this isn’t about human rights. This is a geopolitical agenda against Russia, fuelled by a military industrial complex who need an enemy to justify their millions.

Of course, you’re right to go to Russia; we should be engaged in dialogue, not war.