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Moscow will raise Russian language issue if returns to PACE

Chairman of the Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev mentioned Russia's relations with Ukraine and the Baltics in this regard, as "they have been reduced to the minimum"

MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. If Moscow returns to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), it will bring up the situation surrounding the Russian language in some countries, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said at a press conference ahead of the Fifth International Humanitarian Livadia Forum, set to take place in Yalta on June 4-5.

"As for the policy towards the Russian language in some countries, we need to know if attempts to prevent its use and hinder Russian-language education have become part of those countries’ policies. It they have, it will certainly influence our bilateral relations with those countries," the senior Russian senator pointed out.

In this regard, Kosachev mentioned Ukraine and the Baltic states. "Let us assess the current state of Russia’s relations with these countries. They have been reduced to the minimum, which particularly affects trade and economic projects. There is no doubt about that," he said.

The senator pointed out that Russia raised the issue on all international platforms where it was active. "In particular, regular discussions of the issue take place within the OSCE and the Council of Europe. If and when Russia’s delegation resumes its activities in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, we will definitely bring this issue up once again and try to make sure that it remains in the organization’s focus," Kosachev emphasized.

Russia and the Council of Europe

Following Crimea’s 2014 reunification with Russia, the country’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) was stripped of its key rights, including the right to vote, over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. In response, Russia suspended its participation in PACE’s activities and the payment of its contribution to the Council of Europe.

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland aid on October 10, 2018, that Russia’s membership in the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly might be suspended starting from June 2019 due to non-payment of monetary contributions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in response that Moscow would quit the Council of Europe if opposing member states called for expelling Russia.