Prague,1 September – The Platform of European Memory and Conscience expresses its deepest concerns for the life of the Russian activist Alexei Navalny who was poisoned by a toxic substance, as confirmed by the Charite Hospital in Berlin. This situation reminds us that non-democratic governments often use rather illegal tools to silence their political opponents and critics. The lessons from European history teach us that extrajudicial killings or attempts (Mr Béla Lapusnyik – poisoned in 1962, Mr Georgi Markov – poisoned in 1978, Mr Alexandr Litvinenko – poisoned in 2006, Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko, poisoned in 2004, as well as many other killings of opponents and journalists in the Russian Federation) were used by such regimes against their people without any respect for human life, its value and dignity.
In 2015 the Platform of European Memory and Conscience awarded brothers Alexei and Oleg Navalny the Prize of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience. The Prize is awarded annually to a person/persons who are currently fighting against totalitarianism, for the ideals of democracy, fundamental human rights and freedoms and the rule of law. As it was stated in the justification of awarding the Prize to the Navalny brothers:
“The Members of the Platform have voted … for the Navalny brothers, in recognition of their personal courage, struggle and sacrifices for upholding fundamental democratic values and freedoms in the Russian Federation today. By the award of the Prize, the Platform wishes to express its respect and support to Mr Oleg Navalny whom the Platform considers a political prisoner and to Mr Alexei Navalny for his efforts to expose corruption, defend political pluralism and opposition to the mounting authoritarian regime in the Russian Federation.”
The Platform trusts that Mr Navalny’s case will be investigated and the people responsible for this cowardly act will be brought to justice. We would like to express our sincere hope that Mr Alexei Navalny’s life will be saved and his work will contribute to further expanding of democracy and the rule of law.