Founder of Open Russia, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, urged EU Foreign Ministers not to turn away from Russian civil society
On 27 May, on the eve of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Minister Linas Linkevičius invited his fellow ministers to an informal business dinner with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the founder of the movement Open Russia.
Minister Linkevičius underlined that the meeting was Lithuania’s direct input into the support that the European Union Foreign Affairs Council gives to strengthening of and engagement with Russian civil society.
“In Lithuania, we believe in the prospects of a free, democratic and European Russia therefore we held the fifth already Vilnius Russia Forum in Lithuania which was a platform for open discussions about the future of Russia. Today’s debate is important because the EU’s investment in this direction is still inadequate,” Linas Linkevičius said. He noted that Khodorkovsky urged to comply with the rule of law vis-à-vis the Kremlin and not to turn away from Russian civil society.
The debate focused on the situation in Russia after the President was re-elected there, on the state of its civil society, Kremlin’s aggressive foreign policy, on-going military aggression in its neighbourhood, and attempts to divide and destabilise societies of the USA and EU member states.
This was the second debate of the kind, organised by the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs. A business breakfast was held with Vladimir Kara-Murza in the margins of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in October 2017.
On 26 March, as agreed upon with the EU partners, the Ambassador of Russia to Lithuania Alexander Udaltsov was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania over the attack in the UK. The Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Darius Skusevičius handed the Russian Ambassador a protest note, informing that three employees of the Russian Embassy had been named undesirable for activities incompatible with their diplomatic status.
The Embassy of Lithuania in Washington hosted a debate on strengthening of ties between Western democracies and Russian civil society on 7 November 2017.