MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/. Russia has paid no contributions to the Council of Europe this year, Russian State Duma’s Vice-Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy said on Thursday referring to an allegation that it had paid 11 million euros for 2018.
The legislator was referring to LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s maintaining this earlier at a plenary session of the lower house of the Russian parliament.
"Zhirinovsky means that we stopped paying in summer (of 2017 - TASS), but we paid the initial part [of the contribution] in December 2016 - part of the money, the first tranche, was transferred for the start of 2017. But we have paid nothing for 2018," said Tolstoy, who is in charge of Duma’s international activity.
In April 2014, the Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of key rights, including the right to vote and take part in the assembly’s governing bodies, following the developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The issue of restoring the rights of the Russian delegation was raised at PACE twice throughout 2015 but the sanctions are still in place: Russia is deprived of the right to vote and cannot take part in the Assembly’s governing bodies and elections monitoring missions. In response, Russia suspended its participation in the PACE activities till the end of 2015. In 2016-2017, Russia skipped PACE meetings due to the ongoing sanctions.
In late June 2017, Russia said it was suspending payment of its contribution to the Council of Europe over its non-participation in PACE. Concurrently, it suggested PACE’s regulations be amended to ensure that no one could deprive the lawmakers of their rights but for their voters.
On January 11, 2018, chairman of the State Duma international committee, Leonid Slutsky, confirmed that Russia would not apply for confirmation of its rights for 2018.