Grigory Yavlinsky, the co-founder of the LI full member Yabloko, the Russian liberal party, was welcomed in the Houses of Parliament in London by LI Vice President on the Bureau Baroness Kishwer Falkner. The discussion, which focused on the further deterioration of the situation in Russia, the Ukrainian crisis and the global perspectives for liberalism, was also attended by LI Secretary General Emil Kirjas.

“The situation in Russia is deteriorating on a daily basis. Difficult times are ahead of us in Russia – both in terms of democracy and the economy. Yabloko activists and offices are under increased pressure and daily intimidation by the authorities, as you report in your newsletters,” said Mr. Yavlinsky. He emphasized the importance of European democracies holding firmly to the principles of liberal democracy as a determining message towards the democratic forces in Russia: “For us to succeed we need Europe to keep its house in order”.

During the meeting Baroness Falkner expressed deep concern over the further deterioration of the situation with Russia as well as its obvious attempts to draw neighbouring Ukraine into a civil conflict. Expressing the solidarity and support of Liberal International, she shared her concern about rising xenophobia and intolerance in Europe promulgated by populist movements that saw a rise in support at the last European elections. “As liberals we are challenged not only in Europe, but in many parts of the world. We have to keep fighting for our values and we have to do it together”, was the clear message of Baroness Falkner. She invited Mr. Yavlinsky to use Liberal International as a platform to reach out to the international democratic community.

The discussions also focused at the economic crisis that has been shaking the world over the past years and the future perspectives. Mr. Yavlinsky elaborated on his latest book ‘Realeconomi: The Hidden Cause of the Great Recession’. He expressed fear that the economic crisis is not over, as the modern economic theory doesn’t include the dominant “greed” and “lack of real capital” on which the financial systems rely.

Grigory Yavlinsky is a Laureate of the LI Prize for Freedom. He is leader of the opposition in the St. Petersburg City Duma. He teaches as a professor in the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and he is also Chair of the Expert Council for Economic Reforms of the Russian public organisation The New Economic Association.