MOSCOW, December 19. /TASS/. Speaker of Russia’s State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin has said he sees no grounds for the Russian delegation’s return to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and resumption of its financing by Russia.
"We see that PACE has become a hostage to radical groups of lawmakers, who do not recognize the supremacy of the Council of Europe’s Statute and ignore the principles of parliamentarianism. We have no reason to return to that organization and, all the more, to finance it until the provisions of the PACE regulations are amended and the norms that allow to strip national delegations and, hence the peoples represented in the Council of Europe, of their voting rights," Volodin said at the State Duma meeting on Wednesday, summing up the results of the autumn session.
Russia and PACE
In April 2014, the Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of its 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 Russian delegation's rights was raised at PACE twice throughout 2015 but the sanctions persisted. 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. In January 2018, Russia refrained from applying for confirmation of its rights for 2018.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland told the PACE autumn session in October 2018 that the organization's Committee of Ministers would have to expel Russia from the Council of Europe if the country did not make any monetary contributions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that Russia would withdraw from the Council of Europe if its opponents insisted on its expulsion.