In its engagement with Russia, the EU should move in two directions: on the one hand, conditional selective dialogue with the Kremlin authorities and regional governments, and on the other hand strategic engagement with Russian civil society, which is striving for democracy in Russia, as well as independent cooperation with regional and local actors; the EU strategy towards Russia should not preclude engaging with the authorities where it is in the interests of the EU and does not undermine the EU’s commitments to human rights and democracy goals, as it is still important for the EU to find ways to de-escalate current tensions by identifying measures to increase transparency and reduce the risk of misunderstandings and miscalculations;

The EU should express its will to improve its relations with the people of the Russian Federation through the adoption and the publication of an ‘Address to the Russian people’;

The EU should take into account different possible developments in EU-Russia relations as well as within Russia; in particular, the EU should have a vision and a strategy on the future of EU relations with a free, prosperous, peaceful and democratic Russia, which will be fully committed to the international law, its international obligations and principles of good neighbourly relations; such a strategy should include a broad offer with conditions and incentives such as visa liberalisation, free trade investment and modernisation programmes, and a strategic partnership aiming among other things to ensure the stability of the continent and full respect for its international borders; the EU should also convey the potential benefits that it is willing to offer in return for a democratic transformation of Russia into a cooperative and fully fledged democratic system of governance, which respects human rights, fundamental freedoms, international law and the international rules-based order, as well as for a fundamental change of its current foreign policy and international behaviour;

The EU should support Russian civil society and foster people-to-people contacts between the EU and Russian citizens, particularly as Russian citizens are the biggest recipients of Schengen visas in the world, most of which are multiple-entry and multiannual; hence it should consider reducing visa fees and barriers for Russian citizens and lead an effective information campaign to show that the EU welcomes the Russian people; the EU should also broaden its school, university, scientific and cultural exchange programmes with Russia, and consider offering traineeship and direct recruitment opportunities for both high-skilled and low-skilled workers from Russia; the EU must create and widen alternatives for politically motivated immigrants from Russia to be able to live in the EU under safe and legally certain conditions; moreover, the EU should substantially increase its financial and technical assistance for trade unions, independent media outlets, non-governmental and civil society organisations and civic sector capacity building measures in Russia; in addition, the EU should financially support humanity studies programmes in EU universities, which would prepare Russian people, and students in particular, to engage in a democratic transformation of their country;

The EU should adopt a comprehensive list of all available instruments for engaging with democratic society in Russia, which may include proposals drawn up by many Russian civil society organisations;

The EU should support and strengthen independent journalists and media outlets that offer an alternative and support the establishment of a Free Russia Television with 24/7 airtime; the EU should further support independent media outlets, journalists and bloggers in Russia in order to strengthen alternative sources and channels that are not controlled by the Kremlin;

The EU must counter the pressure on independent media outlets, including by establishing an EU democratic media fund to support independent media outlets in Russia;

Parliament’s Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee should take on the task of identifying persons of interest who play a leading role in Russian society and would be open to establishing a constructive and uninterrupted dialogue and setting up a schedule for public contact with Russian civil society, universities, major scientific and cultural institutions, NGOs, political movements and artistic and intellectual circles;

The EU should also develop effective strategies in the field of digital policy in order to use technological standards and the open internet to support free spaces and restrict oppressive technologies; the EU should therefore support open-source technologies, services for secure communication, decentralised platforms and new low-threshold and privacy-protected, attractive social media platforms for the Russian population, while at the same time expanding global technological standards relating to privacy, creating ethical and legal standards that have a signalling effect to promote fundamental rights protection, working toward an international ban on mass surveillance technologies and invasive social scoring systems, and insisting on autonomous weapons systems being banned

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