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Yavlinskii: EU Must Press For Democracy In Russia

Yavlinskii (file photo) 12 October 2005 -- A leading Russian opposition politician says Europe must not be blinded by potential economic rewards in Russia and ignore the absence of democracy there.

Grigorii Yavlinskii, leader of the liberal Yabloko party, said today the European Union's talks with Russia to build closer ties glossed over Moscow's failure to respect human rights. He said Russia is an authoritarian state.

He told a news conference at the European Parliament that Russia's strategy towards Europe is "We are supplying gas to you -- be happy."

He also said political opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin is stifled by the absence of independent sources of financing for political parties, a free media, and a fair justice system.


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