MOSCOW, April 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Head of the Committee on International Affairs under the State Duma lower house of Russia's parliament Alexei Pushkov said Russia will quit the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) if it comes to the vote to strip powers the Russian delegation of its powers.
Pushkov made a statement to this effect on Tuesday as he was answering the questions regarding the State Duma statement on the PACE situation. "We're considering this scenario. The PACE leadership knows about it, the ball is in their court," he said.
According to Pushkov, who is head of the Russian delegation at PACE, Moscow is carefully analyzing the situation. It does not rule out that "the intensity of anti-Russian sentiment maintained by our permanent opponents might prevail."
"In this case, we believe it is necessary not to let things come to the voting on stripping the Russian delegation of its powers," the Russian lawmaker said. "If we see that PACE will go ahead with such voting, the Russian delegation will walk out on PACE before it (the voting) takes place."
"There'll be no one to strip powers of. We'll deprive our opponents of this pleasure," Pushkov assured.
He noted that this decision will not sever Moscow's ties with Strasbourg entirely. "Such powers are given for a year. In late 2014, we'll be able to raise the issue of our powers again, this time in a less tense political situation," he said.