MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Russia has stepped up its work with parliamentarians from separate countries of the Council of Europe after it suspended cooperation with PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) because of sanctions imposed on the Russian delegation, State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin said on Monday.
"We suspended cooperation on this platform [PACE]. However, we are working more actively with parliamentarians of those countries that are members of the Council of Europe and take part in PACE’s work," Naryshkin said at the meeting with young scientists of the Kutafin Moscow State Law University.
In 2014, 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 in 2015, PACE extended its sanctions against Russia’s delegation until April. In response, Moscow severed contact with the group for another year. The Russian delegation repeatedly stated that it will return to PACE only if all sanctions from Russia are removed. The Russian delegation is not taking part in PACE’s winter session underway in Strasbourg.
Speakers of the two houses of the Russian legislature Sergei Naryshkin and Valentina Matviyenko sent a letter to PACE’s president saying the legislature could resume its work at PACE if rights of national delegations are observed there.
In response to the address, then president Anne Brasseur said the Russian delegation will not be able to participate in the work of Assembly through the current year or, at least, until next parliamentary elections in Russia (after which a new delegation will be formed — TASS).