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MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin has said Monday that the group of "genetic Russophobes" in PACE is narrowing.
"We are monitoring the situation here in PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) rather attentively. The attitude is changing here. The group of, I would say, ‘genetic Russophobes’ is narrowing," Naryshkin told journalists after the State Duma session.
"We will make a final decision on whether the Russian delegation will take part in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly in January, that is in 2016," the speaker said.
He agreed with journalists that the extension of EU’s sanctions against Russia may be considered as a certain signal by PACE. "In any case, for part of the Parliamentary Assembly the decision made in Brussels, in EU, is a certain signal," Naryshkin said.
Last year, the parliamentary arm of the 47-nation Council of Europe, promoting democracy and human rights across the continent, stripped Russia of voting rights following events in Ukraine. It suspended both Russia's right to sit on its governing bodies and Russian participation in election observer missions.
Russian parliamentary delegates left the April session before its official completion as a gesture of protest and refused to take part in future PACE activities, staying away from the assembly's summer and autumn sessions. At the January session, PACE extended its sanctions against Russia’s delegation until April. In response, Moscow severed contact with the group for another year.
State Duma International Affairs Committee chairman Alexey Pushkov said earlier that the issue of Russia’s participation in PACE’s January session is connected with the position on making a payment to the Council of Europe. The final decision will be made in January, he added. "We are thinking now what to do with PACE. We will make a decision in January but before the session, of cource," Pushkov noted.