Does PACE want to return Russia?

 Does PACE want to return Russia?

Strasbourg intends to continue its dialogue with Russia to break the PACE deadlock, a spokesperson for the secretary-general of the Council of Europe, Daniel Holtgen, said.

The Izvestia newspaper writes in an article, citing its sources, that Russia intends to freeze its contribution to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Commenting on this article, Holtgen noted that Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland "has returned from a series of constructive meetings in Moscow." 

Jagland visited Moscow to hold meetings in the State Duma, the Federation Council and the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"Now it is not the time for speculation," RIA Novosti cited the press secretary of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe as saying.

"We will continue our dialogue in order to find a solution to the PACE deadlock," Holtgen concluded.

In April 2014, PACE adopted a resolution depriving the Russian delegation of the right to vote and to be represented in the governing structures of PACE for a year. The measure, taken over Crimea's reunification with Russia and the internal Ukrainian crisis, was later prolonged for another year. In 2016, Russia decided not to send the documents to PACE to confirm the credentials of the delegation.

PACE’s new president Stella Kyriakides sent a letter to speakers of the Russian parliament’s lower and upper houses Vyacheslav Volodin and Valentina Matviyenko, where she confirmed she was ready to meet them soon to discuss the relations between Russia and PACE. 

"She (Kyriakides) thanks for the invitation to participate in the assembly, but says PACE is unable to send an official representative," the source said. She "hopes soon, whenever it is possible, to have a meeting with speakers of the Russian parliament’s houses to discuss the relations between the Russian parliament and PACE and calls this issue exclusively important," the source added.

The chief editor of the magazine 'Russia in Global Affairs', Fyodor Lukyanov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, in the first place noted that Russia has always been an important PACE member. "And this is not just due to the fact that until the freeze of Russia, it was one of the six largest payers of this organization. It's about the Council of Europe's theme, which consists of the EU countries and the countries that have joined it, a small number of countries that do not play a special role, and two significant participants not from the European Union + - Russia and Turkey," the political scientist specified.

"For example, if Russia withdraws from the council, then, first, the issue with Turkey becomes more acute, since it will start to make it clear that in the case of an insufficiently respectful attitude to it, it can also leave these walls. Second, then the meaning of the Council of Europe's activities is narrowed, because the EU and those countries that gravitate towards it do not really need the Council of Europe. They have other tools and mechanisms, and the same issues can be discussed in other formats. That prompts the question of whether the Council of Europe is relevant. On the one hand, the whole apparatus and the bureaucracy are, of course, interested in preserving it. But the idea of ​​the Council of Europe is in itself very good. Nobody would want to lose it, but it should be made an instrument for improving the quality of democratic institutions, not the instrument of pressure and coercion," the expert said.

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