The ODF President speaks at events at the Sorbonne in France and in Visegrad, Hungary

  • 07.01.2019
  • Author: Editorial office

Just before the Christmas break, ODF President Lyudmyla Kozlovska took part in two international events. The first one, organised by the ALDE party in Visegrad, Hungary on 1-2 December, focused on the “bright future of liberalism” in Europe. The second, organised by the Sorbonne University in Paris with the Russie-Libertés and Ukraine Action think-tanks on December 15th, dealt with the influence of the Kremlin and its political allies on human rights in Europe.

Due to Lyudmyla’s inability to currently travel outside of Belgium, stemming from the ban imposed on her by the Polish government, she had to participate in the events via teleconference.

Below are a few fragments from the summaries of the events published by their organisers.

From the “Bright future of Liberalism” event in Visegrad:

Katja Damij delivered a welcome speech on behalf of the Prime Minister of Slovenia and his party Stranka LMS which joined ALDE in Madrid and she supported the aim of the meeting. Apart from professor Pohoryles’ lecture on the basic values of liberalism, István Hegedüs of the Hungarian Society (NGO) looked back on the developments that lead to the decrease of the liberal course in Hungary since 1991. He called the closure of the Central University in Budapest as a landmark event that cannot be without consequences. Hungarian Member of Parliament Anett Bösz (MLP), plead for liberals to have a response in answer to the social needs of citizens and show how important liberal values are not only for individual freedom but also to help social and economic development. Lyudmyla Kozlovska, who was not allowed in the country because Poland put her on a blacklist, stressed via video-link the importance of speaking up for individuals in countries that are being prosecuted for their critique on the diminishment of liberal values.

From the “Kremlin and the reactionary wave in Europe” event at the Sorbonne:

Organised by Russie-Libertés, in collaboration with the Association des Droits de l'Homme (Human Rights Association) of the Sorbonne University and Ukraine Action, this conference managed to gather a heterogeneous group of passionate men and women around two main discussion axes: the *Kremlin and its political allies in Europe*, and the *influence of the Kremlin on the rule of law in Europe*.
Some of the participants :
- Mael Cheref, president of the Association des Droits de l'Homme of the Sorbonne University
- Alexis Prokopiev, member and co-founder of Russie-Libertés
- Anton Shekhovtsov, associated researcher, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation
- Lyudmyla Kozlovska, president of the Open Dialogue Foundation (who found herself in the incapability of traveling inside the borders of the EU after the request from Poland)
- André Gattolin, senator LaREM, Vice President of the Commission for European Affairs.
- Anna Garmash, president of the Ukraine-Action association
- Ioulia Berezovskaya, general director of the website
During this conference, the existing links between the Kremlin and the reactionary movements were recalled, without forgetting that those exist both in a classical extreme-right form and in a new and almost revolutionary form. These links are mostly political and financial (the far-right movement in France is an example), but it is nevertheless interesting and important to question their origins and their objectives.
On the other hand, the question is mostly about the Kremlin being a less visible but still tangible influence on the rule of law in Europe, notably through misinformation tactics and so-called fake news.
This does not mean that the Kremlin is the only cause of the rise of the far right, or for the rising distrust for democracies in Europe. It is important to keep investigating, asking the right questions and digging deeply, because if it is simplistic to see "the hand of the Kremlin" everywhere, it is also simplistic to not see it anywhere.

More on this topic: Kozlovska, France, Kremlin, Hungary, Open Dialogue