Vladimir Milov, one of the leaders of the Russian opposition and Alexei Navalny’s close associate in charge of Foreign Relations, visited Warsaw during May 12-15. He met with Polish politicians, the expert community, civil society and the pro-European Russian diaspora.
Poland was the first country on Milov’s foreign tour.
The visit took place during the ongoing Kremlin’s unprecedented attacks on citizens’ rights, delegalizing of opposition structures, and attacks on Navalny’s allies. The Russian authorities create conditions preventing civil society from communicating with foreign entities.
Milov was invited to Poland by the For Free Russia Association.
Vladimir Milov met with the Foreign Office Deputy minister Marcin Przydacz, the Chairman of Sejm Foreign Affairs Committee Marek Kuchiński, the representatives of the Committee Paweł Kowal, Małgorzata Gosiewska, Maciej Gdula, and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and the European Union Bogdan Klich.
— The talks with Polish politicians in Warsaw were highly productive. There is a complete understanding of what is happening in Russia and full awareness of the danger coming from Putin’s aggressive regime. We talked about what to do to force Putin to change his oppressive policy. We discussed possible actions of Poland in a pan-European context, against the background of the European Parliament’s preparation of an official draft strategy for EU actions towards Russia. I am sure Poland will strengthen its role as the powerhouse of the policy of deterring Putin’s aggression in Europe, taking into account the growing unity within the EU in understanding the threats posed by Putin’s regime, — concluded Milov.
— The Russian opposition leader also met with experts from the Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding, the Polish Institute of International Affairs and others. During his meetings with the Ukrainian and Belarusian communities in Warsaw, he expressed hope that the Russian opposition’s ideas are clear: “We want to put an end to the imperialist policy of ‘Spheres of Influence’ once and for all. We see our neighbours as equal partners moving together towards European integration”, — he said.
During the last day of the visit, he met with the pro-European Russian diaspora in Poland. According to Milov, a critical area of work is the consolidation of this community, which increasingly supports democratic changes in Russia.
— Russian emigration community was rather indifferent to Russia’s political events in the past, but now it is changing. I am convinced that in the future, the diaspora will play an important role in positive changes in Russia, as it has happened in cases of Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova and other countries. I also want to convey my gratitude to the Warsaw-based For Free Russia Association for its participation in organizing the interaction of the Russian diaspora in social and political life; this will help us a lot in the future, — the Russian opposition leader added.
“In Russia, times have changed, too. It is no longer possible to force Putin to release Navalny overnight. […] at the end of January, all state media were ignoring and keeping silent about Navalny in order not to add his popularity,” said Milov in his interview with Gazeta Wyborcza.
Press release by For Free Russia Association
Photo: For Free Russia Association
Translation by Dmitry Strotsev