Novaya Gazeta Europe studied the results of voting in the European Parliament over the past four years and identified deputies who more often than others did not support anti-Russian resolutions and could defend the interests of the Kremlin.
“Moscow, like many other authoritarian regimes, has long been trying to build “special relations” with parliamentarians. Some are “recruited” through bogus NGOs and sent as international “observers” to rigged elections. Others are bribed directly with money in order for politicians to lobby for decisions or simply publicly broadcast the position the dictators needed,” the newspaper notes.
The journalists studied the results of voting on 22 resolutions (the same number of resolutions were adopted in the European Parliament from 2019 to January 2023), which directly related to the Kremlin’s violations of human rights, the war in Ukraine or anti-Russian sanctions. Of the 705 deputies, on average, 531 people (75%) supported the anti-Russian resolutions. A little more than 40 (6%) voted against, on average, and the same number (6%) chose to abstain. Those who abstain from voting, according to the publication, do not accidentally choose such a position on documents related to Russia.
At least 270 out of 705 MEPs at least once voted frankly against the anti-Russian resolutions. The record for this indicator (17 votes) belongs to two MEPs from the Communist Party of Greece – Kostantinos Papadakis and Lefteris Nikolaou-Alavanos.
The most frequently abstained from voting on “problematic documents” were two deputies from the far-right Austrian Freedom Party – Roman Haider and Harald Vilimsky: they chose this tactic for themselves in the case of 15 out of 22 resolutions. Viktor Uspaskikh of the centrist Lithuanian Labor Party did not vote on anti-Russian resolutions the most: he did not press the button, although he was present at the meetings in 10 of the 22 cases analyzed.
Novaya Gazeta. Europe found out that European deputies, who can be suspected of sympathizing with the Kremlin, do not adhere to any one tactic on anti-Russian resolutions, they combine votes “against”, “abstained”, do not participate in voting and sometimes vote for.
The publication compiled the final rating of European deputies, whose votes were somehow cast in defense of Moscow’s interests. It was headed by Tatyana Zhdanok, a well-known pro-Russian deputy from the Russian Union of Latvia, who did not support 20 of the 22 resolutions. In second place is another Kremlin supporter, Gunnar Beck of the Alternative for Germany party, who did not support 18 of the 22 resolutions related to Russia and the war in Ukraine.
Deputy and Chairman of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Foreign Intervention Rafael Glucksmann, in a conversation with journalists of the publication, said that “votes (against anti-Russian resolutions) from the extreme right and extreme left parties confirm that there are ideological forces in the European Parliament opposed to the freedom of Ukraine and the fundamental principles of Europe.” According to him, the deputies who most often vote in the interests of the Kremlin are divided into two types: “useful idiots” and “Putin’s henchmen.”
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the study revealed that several MEPs who voted pro-Russian in 2019-2021 reconsidered their approach. Now they more often use the opportunity to abstain or simply not come to the meeting.
So it was with the deputy of the Cypriot Progressive Party of Workers Yorgos Georgiou. Before the start of the war, he did not support a single anti-Russian resolution. After the adoption of the first of them on March 1, 2022, Georgiou explained that the resolution was incomplete, because it did not take into account NATO’s eastward expansion “as a destabilizing factor.” Later in 2022, he became more likely to choose the options “abstain”, refuse to vote or not come to meetings where such documents were discussed. So far, Georgiou has not voted for a single resolution condemning Russia, the journalists point out.
As stated, the voting tactics were also changed by the Frenchmen Gilbert Collar and Jean-Paul Garro, the Greek Ioannis Lagos and a number of other deputies, including the representative of the “Russian Union of Latvia” Tatyana Zhdanok. On several occasions they preferred to support the resolutions, but they began to skip meetings more often, at which documents related to Russia were adopted.
The publication believes that among the European deputies, the category of “thinkers” has also begun to form: before the start of the war, they voted against the adoption of anti-Russian resolutions, but after February 24, most of them support them. Journalists refer to such deputies, for example, Eugenia Rodriguez Palos from the Spanish left-wing Podemos party, Helmut Scholz from the German Left Party and five deputies from the French National Assembly at once: Gilles Libreton, Jean-Francois Zhalh, Frans Jamet, Catherine Grisey and Jean-Lin Lacapelle. All of them supported most of the resolutions in 2022, voting against very rarely.
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