1 Oct 2017 17:59

Russian observer of Catalonia referendum draws analogy to Ukrainian events taking place 4 years ago

MOSCOW. Oct 1 (Interfax) - Instances of violence and reprisals reported while holding the Catalonia independence referendum are employed by certain political communities seeking to implement a scenario in detriment to the European Union, developments strongly resemble the disorders in Kyiv in 2013, International Institute of Newly Established States director Alexei Martynov, who is involved in remote monitoring of the referendum, said.

"Directing is seen here. I am 100% sure about this. The analogy with Ukrainian events, which took place four years ago, is so obvious that one simply cannot help but make comparisons. Tens of people were hurt. Several policemen were hurt, either. This definitely resembles something," Martynov told Interfax on Sunday.

At the same time, the European agencies' attitude to current events, in which the "Brussels bureaucracy" sees a serious challenge to its positions, is illustrative, the expert said. "European bureaucrats have obviously given a carte blanche to Madrid. Despite the fact that central authorities are doing everything to disrupt the voting, are not permitting people to enter polling stations, are seizing ballot papers, protesters are being beaten up with batons, plastic bullets have already been used, dozens of people are injured, and a problem, which lies at the basis of these events, is not settled," the interlocutor of the news agency said.

The expert sees a certain paradox in the fact that European representatives four years ago have talked out Viktor Yanukovych, who has served as Ukrainian president at the time, of precisely the same actions, which Spanish law enforcement agencies are currently taking.

"If Yanukovych had been told four years ago that one can act the way they are now acting in Barcelona, and it is in a 'European way', I suspect that there would have been no horrible events, which have happened in Ukraine later. It is enough to recall the whole of a landing force of high-ranking European politicians arriving in Kyiv then," Martynov said.

In turn, current events demonstrate a serious concern on the part of Brussels, which not without reason believes that current situation, regardless of Madrid's interests and aspirations participants of the referendum are having, is at least not in favor of the European Union, the expert said.

The monitoring is aimed at getting an objective idea about the situation without any intentions to support or, on the contrary, criticize one party or another, Martynov said. "We are interested in neither Madrid's truth, nor Barcelona's truth. The human rights aspect is important for us," he said.

Martynov said that he had been involved in remote monitoring as a member of the expert group of Russian Presidential Human Rights Council (HRC) members. "I represent the Russian human rights community. Together with the HRC, I am conducting monitoring with assistance of colleagues from public organizations both of Madrid and Barcelona," he said.

Together with the HRC in 2015, Martynov was involved in international monitoring of Scotland's independence referendum.