MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. Russia’s decision to exit the Council of Europe was long in the making and shouldn’t be directly tied to the situation in Ukraine, Grigory Lukyantsev, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s human rights envoy told TASS.
"It wouldn’t be absolutely right to tie our decision to withdraw from the Council of Europe to what is happening in Ukraine," he said in an interview. "It's no secret that this decision had been in the making for a long time."
"The situation in the organization was nearing a crisis long before the start of the special operation," the diplomat said. "The hysterical actions of the Strasbourg-based organization, including the decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE) on February 25 to suspend the right of representation of our country in the bodies of the Council of Europe, became the last straw for us."
Lukyantsev said that Moscow had repeatedly told its European partners about the destructiveness of politicizing the Council of Europe’s actions and the inadmissibility of the practice of double standards. According to him, Russia had warned about the possibility it would leave the organization in the absence of positive changes.
He criticized the agenda that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted in recent years. "One gets the impression that there are no other problems in the space from Lisbon to Vladivostok, except for the ‘poisoning of [blogger Alexey] Navalny,’ ‘arrest and detention of Navalny,’ ‘violation of the rights of Crimean Tatars in Crimea,’ ‘violation of the rights of LGBT community,’ ‘violations human rights in Belarus,’ which is not even a member of the Council of Europe, and, of course, climate change, the favorite topic in the Council of Europe since recently," the envoy said.
According to Lukyantsev, the list of issues didn’t include reports on violations of language and educational rights in Ukraine and the Baltic states, neo-Nazism in European countries, and "indiscriminate shelling of the civilian population of Donbass by Kiev." He said that the request to the Kiev government "to ease, as much as possible, the daily life of the population in the territories that it didn’t control," which was contained in one of the few PACE resolutions on the issue of southeastern Ukraine, sounded like "a spiteful mockery of all residents of the DPR and LPR."
The diplomat said officials and agencies of the Council of Europe showed "selective deafness specifically in relation to appeals from Russia."
"Thus, the Venice Commission, in its recent opinion on the Ukrainian bill On the principles of the state policy of the transition period, gave Kiev the green light for total Ukrainization to the detriment of the Minsk agreements," he said. "Subsequently, the reports that were published in 2015 by the International Advisory Group, which was created by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and which confirmed the ineffectiveness of the investigation by the Ukrainian authorities of the events on the Maidan and the tragedy in Odessa on May 2, 2014 were hushed up."
Russia’s exit from the CE
On March 15, the Russian government notified the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Maria Pejcinovic-Buric, of the country’s withdrawal from the organization and the intention to denounce the European Convention on Human Rights. On March 16, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decided to terminate Russia's rights in the organization. On the same day, the European Court of Human Rights decided to suspend consideration of all complaints against the Russia. According to the resolution of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights will continue to consider complaints from Russians until September 16, 2022, when Russia will cease to be one of the parties to the European Convention on Human Rights.