MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/. Chairman of the Russian State Duma's International Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky has said that Russia should think about freezing its membership in the Council of Europe, without waiting for expulsion.
"The destructiveness of the organizations and its institutions, particularly PACE [Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe], makes one think that we should probably consider temporarily suspending or freezing Russia's membership in the Council of Europe, without waiting for anti-Russian bureaucrats to initiate an expulsion procedure," Slutsky told journalists.
The Kommersant daily earlier reported that Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland told the PACE autumn session that the organization's Committee of Ministers will have to expel Russia from the Council of Europe if the country does not make monetary contributions. In accordance with the Statute of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers may temporarily suspend membership of a country that has not been making monetary contirbutions for two years. Russia stopped making contributions in 2017 against the backdrop of a crisis in relations with PACE. The two-year timeframe for failure to make monetary contirbutions will end for Russia in June 2019.
"This is a typical attempt of the Council of Europe to stay ahead of the curve in a rather ungentlemanly situation. Jagland makes his statements like someone who was cornered. He is neither pro-Russian nor anti-Russian. He is the top official at the Council of Europe who just needs more funds," Slutsky noted.
Russia is "just tired from endless Russophobic hysteria, tired from negativity, discrimination and double standards at PACE, which have nothing to do with the common spirit of democracy and supremacy of law," the Russian parliament member said. "The four-year long crisis in relations with PACE has created the situation when a country's delegation, after being one of main monetary contributors for many years, does not participate in elections of ECHR [European Court of Human Rights] judges and of the Council of Europe's High Commissioner for Human Rights. Consequently, our cooperation with these institutions of the Council of Europe is becoming less and less legitimate," he said.