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Federation Council speaker urges Russian delegation to neglect PACE events in 2014

April 16, 2014, 18:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"Nor should we invite PACE officials to Russia for any actions or monitoring," Valentina Matviyenko added
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Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

© EPA/RAINER JENSEN

MOSCOW, April 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Speaker of the Federation Council upper house of Russia's parliament Valentina Matviyenko believes that the Russian delegation should not participate in any PACE events this year. In her view, it may become the reason for adjusting the sum of Russia's contribution to the budget of that organization.

“This is my point of view: we'll be developing a common position with the State Duma (lower house): we shouldn't participate in any PACE events till the end of this year nor should we invite PACE officials to Russia for any actions or monitoring," Matviyenko said.

If the hotheads who have brought PACE to this split do not cool off, Russia's actions will be adequate next year, too, she added.

Matviyenko emphasized that Russia was not seeking to whip up tension, yet it was not going to pocket it (the PACE resolution on Ukraine) either. "Our response will be adequate," Matviyenko said.

She reminded that Russia belongs to the group of the main taxpayers of the Council of Europe and that it transferred huge sums so that the organization could function [Russia's annual contribution makes up €23 million – ITAR-TASS]. "Why should be keep the level of contribution and tolerate such unfair, unsubstantiated and ill-considered reproaches against Russia, with some remarks crossing the line," Matviyenko said.

"If Russia does not participate in PACE for half a year, it gives all reasons to adjust the sum of the contribution," the Federation Council speaker said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Federation Council members proposed to switch part of Russian's contribution to PACE to upgrade pre-school education in Crimea and the peninsula's Russian federal city of Sevastopol instead.

The move follows a PACE vote to strip Russia of assembly voting rights as a censure over events in Ukraine.

"It would be logical to divert the money from this idle talk — one billion rubles — to a good cause... This will show our positive mood to our PACE colleagues,” said Vladimir Petrov, Federation Council budget and financial markets committee deputy chairman, earning colleagues' applause.

Speaker Matviyenko, underscoring Russia's rebuttal of PACE's snub, declared: "Our delegation will not be present for half a year while PACE members with marginal thinking will be travelling extensively, conducting monitoring, drinking coffee and having good meals at Russia's expense. The proposal is reasonable."

Deputy Speaker Ilyas Umakhanov said lawmakers from the State Duma and Federation Council members would continue discussions on further participation in the assembly's work.

"We're discussing... suspension of our participation in PACE events until the year end, the size of our financial contribution and the payment procedure," Umakhanov said.

PACE resolved on April 10 to strip Russia of voting rights and expel it from the organization’s ruling bodies until the end of 2014 for bringing Crimea into Russia.

Russia's delegation condemned the sanction as unfair and illegitimate, leaving the session discussing the move.

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