MOSCOW, July 1. /TASS/. Russia has no intention of leaving the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), but its session in Helsinki won’t be full-fledged without Russia’s participation, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Alexey Pushkov said on Wednesday.
"We are not leaving. This will not affect our work, but it in no way improves the Russian-Finnish relations," he told the Russian News Service.
However, the Russian lawmaker is confident that by denying entry to the country to speaker of Russia’s State Duma Sergey Naryshkin the Finnish government decided not to soften the situation but to make it worse: "Instead of possible progress that could be made at this session, they chose regress."
Pushkov noted that "the absence of the Russian delegation from this session made it not quite full-fledged." "They may discuss a whole array of issues without Russia, but this is not the format which can responsibly discuss the problems of European security," the parliamentarian said. He believes that the decision on this ban had been taken by Finland under pressure from other EU countries.
The head of the committee recalled that the session in Helsinki was to consider a resolution authored by Naryshkin: "This resolution calls for beginning to lift the personal sanctions against lawmakers. On both sides. The return to the normalization of relations between Russia and the EU should begin with lawmakers. Placing on the blacklists runs counter to all norms of democracy and the European parliamentary system."
Pushkov described the refusal of the Russian delegation to take part in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session in Helsinki as the only possible solution. "That’s what other countries do," he said.
Finland’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vesa Hakkinen told TASS earlier on Wednesday that Finland had denied entry to Naryshkin to participate in the session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to be held between July 5 and July 9. Such decision was made because Naryshkin had been placed on EU’s sanctions list, Hakkinen said. According to Naryshkin, the Russian delegation will not take part in the session as a mark of protest.