Parliamentary diplomacy: cooperation on the principles of mutual respect

Despite the attempts by the West to isolate Russia, the cooperation between the State Duma and the parliaments of the sovereign states is actively developing. Read more about the highlights of the State Duma international activities in the spring session in our article
Plenary session of the Second International Parliamentary Conference “Russia-Africa”

The State Duma plays an important role in the development of inter-parliamentary relations in various areas. Special attention is usually given to those activities.

Briefly about the main activities during the spring session:

  • ratification and denunciation of a number of international agreements;
  • numerous appeals to foreign parliamentarians on the most pressing issues that required an immediate international response;
  • the Chairman of the State Duma paid official visits to five states – Iran, Turkmenistan, Cuba, Belarus, Türkiye;
  • the Second International Parliamentary Conference “Russia-Africa” was held in Moscow, delegations from more than 40 countries of the continent took part in it, and soon there will be held the Conference “Russia-Latin America”;
  • since the beginning of 2023, there were held meetings with two leaders of foreign states, 11 speakers of parliaments and chambers of the parliaments;
  • members of the State Duma continue to work actively at the CSTO PA, IPA CIS, PABSEC, OSCE PA, the Parliamentary Assembly of Belarus and Russia, and at various international platforms, like BRICS, ASEAN, IPU, etc., as well as at the level of inter-parliamentary commissions, relevant committees and “friendship groups”.

The International Parliamentary Conference “Russia-Africa”

The Second International Parliamentary Conference “Russia-Africa” was held in March in Moscow. More than 40 official parliamentary delegations from almost all states of the African continent took part in the Conference.

Representatives of the scientific, educational and expert communities from Russia and African states, members of the State Duma, federal executive authorities, senators of the Federation Council, chairmen of the legislative bodies of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, representatives of the business community also took part in the Conference.

On the sidelines of the Conference, the Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin Volodin Vyacheslav Victorovich Volodin
Vyacheslav Victorovich
The Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the eighth convocation. Elected in single mandate constituency № 163 (Saratov constituency - Saratov Oblast)
held several bilateral meetings with heads of delegations – speakers of parliaments and chambers of the parliaments of African states.

The main topics of the round tables were joint efforts to ensure global security, issues of neocolonialism, prospects of Russian education, and development of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Africa.

The President of Russia Vladimir Putin spoke at the plenary session of the International Parliamentary Conference “Russia – Africa in a Multipolar World”.

The Chairman of the State Duma proposed to hold the Conference “Russia-Africa” annually.

“Russia and the African states are united by common goals: we stand together for building a multipolar, just world based on the principles of respect for traditions, culture, and history of the countries with which we are building mutually beneficial cooperation,” stressed Vyacheslav Volodin.

Meeting of the Commission on Cooperation between the State Duma and the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran

In January, the third meeting of the Commission on Cooperation between the State Duma and the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran was held in Tehran. The parliamentarians of the two countries discussed issues of legislative support for trade and economic cooperation in the fields of energy, transport and agriculture, cooperation in the Caspian Sea, ensuring regional security and countering terrorism and extremism.

“The current relations between Russia and Iran are reaching a new level, strengthening mutual trust and deepening practical interaction,” said Vyacheslav Volodin. He recalled that the dynamics were set by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi.

“Parliamentary diplomacy is one of the most important things, and we should use this opportunity to develop our cooperation in all areas,” stressed the Chairman of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf.

In 2022, despite the sanctions pressure, the trade turnover between the countries increased by almost 15% and reached 4.6 billion USD. There is great potential in the implementation of joint large-scale infrastructure projects, enhancement of cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union and Iran. “I mean the planned conclusion of a platform agreement on a free trade zone to replace the temporary agreement. This is especially relevant in the context of the implementation by our countries of the project on building of the International North-South Transport Corridor,” said Vyacheslav Volodin.

As part of his official visit to Iran, Vyacheslav Volodin met with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi.

Meeting of the Commission on Cooperation between the State Duma and the National Assembly of People's Power of Cuba

In April, the first meeting of the Commission on Cooperation between the State Duma and the National Assembly of People's Power of Cuba was held in Havana. The parliamentarians discussed the necessary measures for the development of bilateral relations in the financial, energy, agriculture, tourism and education sectors, as well as legislative activity to counter foreign interference in internal affairs and ensure national security and sovereignty.

Before the meeting of the Commission was held, parliamentarians of Russia and Cuba had held meetings within the framework of working groups on agenda issues with the participation of representatives of relevant ministries.

The Chairman of the State Duma stressed that the parliaments should live the development agenda of their countries, the agenda of the presidents.

“We were trying to find new forms of cooperation that would help us work more effectively. And in this part, especially in matters of inter-parliamentary cooperation, we developed a format which has been implemented for the first time in our cooperation with Cuban comrades,” emphasized the Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin.

The President of the National Assembly of People's Power of Cuba Esteban Lazo Hernández also noted the effectiveness of the work in the format of the Inter-parliamentary Commission on Cooperation for the Cuban side.

As part of his official visit to Cuba, Vyacheslav Volodin met with the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, the President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

Investigation into the US sabotage on the Nord Stream

The State Duma appealed to the United Nations with a proposal for an international investigation into the crime committed by the USA in the Baltic Sea on 26 September 2022, where was committed a criminal attack on three branches of the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines. The State Duma considers the attack on the pipelines in the Baltic Sea as an act of international terrorism.

“Members of the State Duma are appealing to the UN Security Council with a proposal to initiate a thorough investigation of this clear act of international terrorism, give a full legal assessment of this monstrous sabotage and bring to justice the masterminds and perpetrators of this wholly uncalled-for crime that has jeopardised the security of the entire Eurasian continent,” the document says.

The text of the appeal was sent to the UN, Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia, the CSTO PA, IPA CIS, SCO, OSCE PA, PABSEC, IAO, African Parliamentary Union, Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, Asian Parliamentary Assembly and parliaments of the world states.

Vyacheslav Volodin also suggested calculating the damage caused by the sabotage. The relevant instructions were given to the Committees on Energy and on Ecology, Natural Resources and Environment Protection. They should analyze the issue and discuss it with international environmental organizations.

International treaties related to the Council of Europe with respect to Russia were terminated

The law implies termination of 21 international treaties related to the Council of Europe, including the Charter of the Council of Europe adopted on 5 May 1949, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms adopted on 4 November 1950, the European Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism of 27 January 27 1977, the Charter of Local Self-Government of 15 October 1985 and the Social Charter adopted on 3 May 1996.

Adopted law established the legal basis for Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Council of Europe.

The law on the termination of international treaties of the Council of Europe with respect to Russia requires amendments to the federal constitutional laws on the state of emergency and on martial law: the relevant bill has been submitted to the State Duma by the President. It includes the exemption from having to inform the Secretary General of the Council of Europe about the derogation from obligations under international treaties related to the restriction of the rights and freedoms of citizens as a result of the introduction of martial law or a state of emergency. According to the Chairman of the State Duma, the bill will be considered in the autumn session.

Statement on the genocide of the peoples of the Soviet Union by Germany during the Great Patriotic War

Members of the State Duma consider it of fundamental importance to give a judicial and legal assessment of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 by the authorities of Germany and its allies – armed units constituted in the territories of Belgium, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland and individual volunteers from Austria, Latvia, Poland, France and the Czech Republic.

“The barbaric extermination of civilians in accordance with Generalplan Ost was carried out in all the republics of the USSR that were invaded by the Nazi German invaders,” the text of the statement says.

The document was sent to the UN, Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia, the CSTO PA, IPA CIS, SCO, OSCE PA, PABSEC, IAO, African Parliamentary Union, Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, Asian Parliamentary Assembly, Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, Mercosur Parliament and parliaments of the world states.

Denunciation of the CFE Treaty

“Washington and Brussels, obsessed with the idea of building a unipolar world, moving NATO eastwards, destroyed the global security system. Members of the State Duma, guided by the interests of the Russian people, in order to ensure security of the Russian Federation, have made a decision to denounce the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe,” stressed the Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin.

The Treaty was signed in Paris on 19 November 1990 and came into force on 9 November 1992. It established a balance of forces between member states of two military-political alliances — the Warsaw Pact and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — at lower levels and limited the possibility of deploying their conventional forces along the line of contact. After the termination of the Warsaw Pact and as a result of the expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance, the CFE Treaty lost contact with reality.

In 1999, at the summit in Istanbul, an adapted version of the CFE Treaty was signed, which suggested a transition from a bloc structure to national and territorial levels of weapons and equipment for each participating state. However, the NATO member states refused to ratify the updated Treaty, and then Russia suspended its participation in the CFE Treaty.

“Since then, the situation in Europe in the field of conventional weapons has significantly deteriorated. The USA and its allies pursue the course towards military confrontation with Russia, fraught with catastrophic consequences,” the explanatory note says. “In this regard, the current situation requires the adoption of measures to denounce the Treaty and the start of domestic procedures for further withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the Treaty,” the text also says.

Suspension of payments of contributions to the OSCE PA

In April, the Council of the State Duma made a decision to suspend payments of contributions to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe for 2023.

“We face attempts aimed at obstructing the work of our delegation in the OSCE PA. We should not pay if we do not participate in it. If we are not allowed to work there this year, we will demand to return previously paid contributions,” stressed the Chairman of the State Duma.

The International Parliamentary Conference “Russia-Latin America” will be held in Moscow on September 29 — October 2.