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Duma speaker refuses to go to Strasbourg to attend PACE session

September 28, 2012, 11:17 UTC+3

On Thursday, September 27, speaker of the State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament Sergei Naryshkin announced that he refuses to go to Strasbourg

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MOSCOW, September 28 (Itar-Tass) — On Thursday, September 27, speaker of the State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament Sergei Naryshkin, who was to speak at a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that is opening on Monday, announced that he refuses to go to Strasbourg. He explained this move by anti-Russian sentiments among the PACE leadership and a number of delegations. However, the delegation of the Russian Federation will still attend the session.

According to the Novye Izvestia newspaper, Naryshkin said that once he was pleased to accept an invitation to deliver a speech at a PACE session and was preparing to speak about big problems in the development of parliamentarianism in Europe, about forming a frontier-free Europe. “But as the session opening was nearing we felt that my big strategic proposals were unlikely to be heard by a number of Parliamentary Assembly leaders and some Russophobic delegations,” Naryshkin said.

The Kommersant daily writes that the RF delegation said Alexei Pushkov explained that “there is no boycott of any kind.” “Cooperation with the Council of Europe is one of the priorities of our foreign policy,” he said, complaining that not all members of the Assembly are disposed to conduct a constructive dialogue with the Russian Federation, and some delegations are preparing “Russophobe attacks.” Pushkov explained what he meant. “The authorities of these countries for some reason believe that they have an ideal situation with human rights’ observance, although in each of the 300 thousand non-citizens reside, Nazis conduct marches, and monuments are set up to the Waffen SS butchers,” Mr. Pushkov said.

The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper notes that the authors of the draft resolution on Russia Andreas Gross and Gyorgy Frunda propose to leave Moscow under the PACE monitoring regarding the fulfilment by the RF of its commitments. They explain their proposal by the fact that the Kremlin over the past 16 years (from the date of Russia’s accession to the organisation) has not fulfilled its obligations. They refer primarily to the legal sphere. The PACE rapporteurs, in particular, are concerned over the too severe, in their opinion, sentence that was handed down on the Pussy Riot group members.

The Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper writes that Pushkov has stated that “we consider this initiative as a certain attempt to discredit Russia in the eyes of the world community.” He noted that “such a decision has not been made in regard to any other country under monitoring.” This means that double standards are obvious here. In addition, the draft resolution gives “unacceptable recommendations” to review the case of Pussy Riot, on the need to observe a number of PACE resolutions in which Russia is actually offered to cancel the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and to change some of the provisions of the Russian legislation.

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