Intervention at the plenary session in the debate on Russia’s classification of German NGOs as “undesirable organisations” and the detention of Andrei Pivovarov

Madam President, a few years ago, during the last Russian elections, would Mr Putin have needed to pass so many repressive laws, so many laws banning the liberty of all kinds of expression through his parliament? Would he have needed to increase the number of arrests and arbitrary acts? No, because until a few years ago, Putin had real popularity, because he was seen as the avenger of the humiliation of Russia, because Putin had few or no problems in the former Soviet republics, because Putin stood firmly in his post. If he is increasing the number of his repressive acts as he’s doing now, it’s because his power is weakening. It is that we are entering – or rather that Russia is entering – a period that will probably be long and certainly painful, but a period of the end of a reign, of the end of a regime.

In such a period, in such a moment, what should we do? Well, exactly what we are doing, which is to be ever firmer towards the Russian regime, to be ever firmer towards Mr Putin, to denounce ever more these arbitrary and repressive acts and to say ever more to the people of the Russian Federation that our deepest desire is to be able one day to organise the stability and cooperation of the continent in a good understanding between the European Union and the Russian Federation. That day will come, I am certain. We are certain of it.

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