Motion to the EDS Winter University, Budapest, Hungary February 19-24 2008.
Democracy is a universal value and over the past 20 years we have all been happy to see the development of democracy and freedom in more and more countries. The fall of communism and the Berlin-wall gave new hope and a world more filed with free-dom then ever before in the history. This development, naturally, still continues in various countries all over the world. But this does not mean that everything is well, or that there is no need for concern for the state of democracy in different countries.
When it comes to Russia, there is at the moment, and has been so for the past years, many reasons to be concerned. The development of democracy, freedom and civil liberties in Russia that was progressing with great pace during the 90’ies are now in various ways slowing down. In some areas it has even stopped all together. We have been able to follow this development for the last couple of years, not the least in con-nection to the last few elections. This picture is also accentuated by the fact that Free-dom House in their report for 2007 put Russia in the category of countries where freedom had severely decreased. The report states that there seems to be a campaign against democracy in Russia.
The conclusions in the Freedom House report is not surprising for us who carefully follows the development in Russian and cooperate with liberal oppositions parties within Russia. The general elections for the State Duma in December 2007 can not be looked upon as free or fair. The campaign for most parties where disturbed and many centre-right politicians where prevented from the opportunity to make good cam-paigns and to communicate with voters. The media situation, where the government, or forces close to the government, controls most wide-spread media channels, does not make things better.
We, as the European Democrat Students must look upon the development in Russia with great concern. We see Russia as a country that deserves a bright future, not only embracing a free economy but also civil liberties, freedom and a well functioning de-mocracy. Even though we have little hope for immediate change in the way that the Russian leadership treats their opposition and regards democracy we still hope for a change, a change for the better.
With this as a background we, the European Democrat Students, urge the Russian authorities and the Russian government to take the chance and prove that democracy is still a live in Russia. We urge you to make sure, the upcoming presidential elections on March 2nd are free and fair and that the president elected is truly elected by the Russian people, without interference.
Ulrik Franke, Chairman
Evelina Lorentzon, Vice Chairman
Petrus Boström, Vice Chairman
Fredrik Saweståhl, International Secretary
FMSF (The Swedish Confederation of Conservative and Liberal Students)