Grigory Yavlinsky, the head of the Russian Democratic Party (also known as Yabloko), addressed the Lib Dems conference today.
Simon Hughes, the Lib Dems’ president, prefaced Mr Yavlinsky’s speech by claiming that the undemocratic political system in Russia was not “enlightened enough” to embrace liberalism.
But a point of principle was in tow, namely the role of parties destined to stay in opposition rather than having much chance of forming a government.
The Russian liberals stand even less chance of that than their UK counterparts in the near future.
But at least the Lib Dems are taking the time to reach out to other similar parties across the globe, in both democratic and non-democratic countries. They have an active and committed International Department (Full disclosure – I was once interview for and subsequently not offered a job there. Swines.), which works to promote both liberalism and democracy across the globe.
Meanwhile, Tony Blair goes around expressing his disapproval of Vladimir Putin by giving him bear-hugs.