Statement of the State Duma “On the Situation around Russian Participation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe”

At today's plenary meeting, members of the State Duma adopted a statement on the non-participation of the delegation of the Russian Federation in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2019. The parliamentarians stressed that they had made such a decision in the interests of the citizens of the Russian Federation and the Russian state

Members of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation declare that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) grossly violated the rights of the Russian Federation as a member of the Council of Europe, depriving the delegation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the opportunity to vote at meetings and participate in the PACE governing bodies, to be rapporteurs, to take part in the PACE delegations for observation of elections, to represent the PACE both in the bodies of the Council of Europe and outside this organization.

As a result of the lengthy anti-Russian campaign, the activities of Russia in the Council of Europe were actually suspended along the parliamentary line, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe itself, violating the basis of parliamentarism, found itself in a deep systemic crisis.

In view of the current situation, in particular, more than half of the judges of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) were elected by PACE without the participation of Russian representatives, which raises doubts on the legitimacy of the decisions of the ECHR in relation to Russia. A similar situation exists with respect to the institution of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in whose election the Russian delegation also did not participate.

Depriving the Russian delegation, which consists of nation-wide elected representatives, of the right to the vote is a restriction on the rights of our country's citizens, guaranteed by the Statute of the Council of Europe.

Members of the State Duma did everything possible to find solutions to overcome the current situation, maintained a constant dialogue with the leadership of PACE and the leaders of its political groups, made specific proposals for amending the Regulations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to exclude the possibility of revising the credentials of delegations of Council of Europe member states. The Russian side openly expressed its position, including the corresponding statements of the State Duma.

The Russian delegation does not require any preferences for itself but acts in the interests of ensuring the equal rights of parliamentarians of all countries to represent the interests of their voters.

The State Duma considers it necessary to bring the Regulations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in line with the Statute of the Council of Europe, which guarantees the equal rights of all forty-seven member states of the Council of Europe.

To date, PACE has not made any significant progress in its position.

In this situation, the State Duma sees no reason for the return of the Russian delegation to PACE and the resumption of payment of contributions of the Russian Federation to the budget of the Council of Europe. In this regard, the members of the State Duma declare that it is inexpedient to send an application for confirmation of the powers of the members of the Russian delegation to PACE in 2019.

In making such a decision, the State Duma acts in the interests of the citizens of the Russian Federation and the Russian state.