MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. The Council of Europe has lately been condemning Russia on the basis of double standards. The organization will have nothing to do after Russia withdraws from it and can only dissolve itself. This opinion was expressed on Wednesday by Russia's State Duma (the lower house) Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin in his Telegram channel.
"The Council of Europe is losing its meaning. Recently it has devoted itself to Russia, its criticism, condemnations, pressure, appeals and resolutions. Without our country, colleagues from the Council of Europe will have nothing to do. There’s only one way out for them: they should dissolve themselves," Volodin noted.
He added that Russia had always sought to engage in dialogue, but was not heard because "the Council of Europe professed the principles of unilateralism and double standards." "Under these conditions, dialogue with the deaf West has become meaningless," Volodin pointed out, stressing that Russia's notice of withdrawal from the Council of Europe was the right decision. He recalled that the Russian Federation joined the Council of Europe in 1996 with high expectations. "Commitment to democratic ideals and principles, harmonization of member states' legislations, equal dialogue between sovereign states. But they (expectations - TASS) have not been met," the lawmaker stressed.
Volodin also noted that Russia was one of the five largest sponsors of the organization, but has not transferred its annual fee, which amounts to about 4.2 billion rubles (almost $39 million) this year. According to him, the Russian Federation will need the money in conditions of sanctions and will use it to solve the problems of Russian citizens and support the economy.
"After leaving the Council of Europe, we will pay more attention to bilateral relations. We plan to continue dialogue with national parliaments. We are open to mutually beneficial cooperation," Volodin stressed.
On Tuesday, Pyotr Tolstoy, head of Russia’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and deputy speaker of the Russian State Duma, said that the decision to withdraw from the Council of Europe had been made and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov handed the corresponding notice to Secretary General of the organization Maria Pejcinovic-Buric. The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the transmission of the notice.