The Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe, led by MEP Graham Watson, have unveiled a large countdown calendar board today displaying the number of days Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been held in prison, and the number of days until the Russian election on display in the European Parliament. See the press release below for strong expressions of support from Watson for human rights and political prisoners in Russia. Putin’s Russia is a blast from the past Today in the European Parliament Graham Watson MEP the Leader of the Liberals and Democrats will unveil a calendar marking the number of days since Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s imprisonment and counting down until 2 March 2008 – the date for Russia’s so-called democratic elections for President.
“Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been in jail since 2003 for financing the liberal opposition. 1572 days later, with another election around the corner the only liberal candidate is barred from running. As Russia goes from injustice to injustice, the crackdown on democracy feels like a cold blast from the past.Elections come and go but rulers remain the same and if anything changes for the ordinary people it is for the worse. Fundamental rights, media freedom and civil liberties are being sacrificed at the altar of authoritarianism. With few shared values, the interests we have in common are not an adequate basis for a viable relationship with Russia “.The calendar will remain in the European Parliament until 2 March 2008 as a reminder of the foretold death of Russian democracy.