This week some European Parliament members are awakening to an uncomfortable reality: that they have sold their long-term values for short-term energy deals with Russia. These European values – as basic as respect for human rights, property rights, freedom of press, and international law – have all recently been violated by the behavior of Russian officials both in regards to the murders of Anna Politkovskaya and Andrei Kozlov, as well as the continued energy gangsterism at Sakhalin. Case in point, as Putin prepares for his meeting with the European Parliament in Lahti, Finland tomorrow, the Liberal Group has already published paid advertisements of an open letter carrying the following messages:
We are deeply concerned that political opposition is being slowly but surely eliminated and that those who dare to finance it, such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky, are being silenced and incarcerated. We therefore challenge you to reverse those policies which are strangling your country and its private citizens, conduct an open and independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Anna Politkovskaya and others and bring the perpetrators of this and other murders to justice.
This newfound willingness to defend European values, stand up against the injustice suffered by Khodorkovsky, and make a positive gesture in memory of Politkovskaya is admirable and a step in the right direction. We can only hope that more people in Europe realize that human rights and rule of law are not mutually exclusive from energy partnership with Russia.