The deputy chairman of the Yabloko party, Sergei Ivanenko, appealed to the European Parliament with a request not to award the Andrei Sakharov Prize to Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Excerpts from Ivanenko’s letter on Thursday, October 21, were published by the information portal vot-tak.tv of the Belsat TV channel.
In his letter, Ivanenko, in particular, recalled Navalny’s position on the status of Crimea and his statements in 2014, when the oppositionist said that “Crimea will remain a part of Russia.” In addition, the deputy chairman of Yabloko was outraged by Navalny’s debate with the former “minister” of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” Igor Strelkov (Girkin). “We hope that the MEPs will carefully study these and other facts and understand that such facts are incompatible with the name of Andrei Sakharov,” wrote Ivanenko.
The fact of writing the letter was confirmed by Ivanenko in a conversation with the journalist of “Echo of Moscow” in St. Petersburg Arseny Vesnin, explaining his position by the fact that he considers Navalny a “nationalist” and a politician “no better than Putin.” He noted that he wrote the letter personally on his own behalf, and not from the party. “I believe that Navalny is, of course, a political prisoner, but he has nothing to do with the Sakharov Prize. This decision of the European Parliament is a very sad event for the democratic movement in Russia,” Ivanenko said, adding that the oppositionist “incites primitive social discord.” …
Yabloko distances itself from Navalny’s supporters
Earlier this week, Yabloko’s federal political committee (FPK) decided at a closed meeting to deregister members of the party who are supporters of Navalny. The very policy of Navalny, including his project “Smart Voting”, which proposes to vote in elections for any party except United Russia, was called “modern Bolshevism” in Yabloko. The party’s statement notes that deregistration does not mean expulsion from the party, but deprives the right to make internal party decisions.
In February, one of the Yabloko leaders, Grigory Yavlinsky, publicly accused Navalny of leadership, nationalism and “inciting primitive social hatred.” A few months later, he called on Navalny’s supporters not to vote for Yabloko in the State Duma elections, pointing out that “the party will never pursue his policies.”
Navalny won the 2021 Sakharov Prize, presented by the European Parliament for freedom of thought. The oppositionist’s candidacy was nominated by the largest faction of the European Parliament, the EPP and the third largest faction in terms of the number of deputies, the Renew Europe faction – “for his courage in the struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights.” They called Navalny “the main political opponent” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.