STRASBOURG, January 27. /TASS/. Russia’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe hopes for PACE’s support for its draft declaration on the impermissibility of the revision of World War II results, the chief Russian delegate, State Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy said, adding that a sign-up campaign for the document’s adoption had already begun.
"We have many questions to ask at this session," Tolstoy told the media upon arrival at the Palace of Europe. "We are constructively minded."
"I hope that our colleagues will support our declaration on the impermissibility of revising World War II results, in which we protest in rather harsh terms against the current trend in some countries, including Poland [the attempts to ruin monuments to the liberator soldiers]."
"We will participate in the discussion of all issues on the agenda, we will be actively working in the committees," Tolstoy went on. "We hope that the powers of our delegation will be confirmed during the voting on the rules of procedure. As Russia’s representative I will take a seat on the PACE Bureau in the capacity of a deputy chair," he added.
The senator pledged that Russia’s delegation to PACE would leave the assembly’s winter session if its rights are restricted.
"I hope that the reasonable majority won’t make this kind of decisions. But if such a decision is made, we will leave," he stated after the Russian delegation’s rights had been challenged on substantive grounds and a relevant request had been sent to the PACE Monitoring Committee.
He added that Russia’s opponents called for "condemning Russia for the constitutional amendments that haven’t been adopted yet," which "is strange." "Other complaints, including the one that said there were Crimean representatives in our delegation, have already been rejected by the Venice Commission," Tolstoy noted.
"This is why I see no legal or political reason for such complaints," the Russian delegation head said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the State Duma (lower house) Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky revealed that he did believe that the rights of the Russian delegation would be restricted based on a report set to be considered on Wednesday.
PACE members Emanuelis Zingeris of Lithuania and Maria Golubeva of Latviahad earlier challenged the Russian delegation’s credentials. Zingeris claimed that Russia failed to comply with decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights, and Golubeva said that the Russian delegation included Crimean lawmakers and, moreover, Crimean politicians had participated in the Russian parliamentary elections.
Challenge of credentials
According to PACE regulations, all national delegations need to file applications to participate in the Assembly’s work ahead of the first session of the year. Their credentials are automatically confirmed on the first day of the session unless they are challenged. It takes at least 30 lawmakers from no less than five national delegations to challenge a delegation’s credentials.
In case of a challenge, the PACE Monitoring Committee has 24 hours to draw up a report and a draft resolution.
In June 2019, PACE passed a resolution, which says that "the members’ rights to vote, to speak and to be represented in the Assembly and its bodies shall not be suspended or withdrawn in the context of a challenge to or reconsideration of credentials." The move paved the way for Russia’s return to PACE following a five-year absence.
At the same time, there still are rights that can be restricted, which particularly include the right to take part in PACE election monitoring missions, the right to be appointed rapporteur and represent PACE in the Council of Europe and other organizations.