That the delegation of the state Duma and the Federation Council will take part in session of parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which is scheduled for the end of January, Vyacheslav Volodin said at a meeting with journalists on Tuesday, January 10, the correspondent reports. According to him, the non-participation of Russia may take six months or even a year.
As said Volodin, Russia will take part in the PACE only after it changed the rules of the organization, at the moment, allowing you to deny any country the right to vote, even if that decision was supported by a minority of votes.
“Change the rules and we will participate,” — said Volodin. He added that Russia has not filed an application to participate in the January session. “We’re not going to apply, but this is not due to the fact that not, and due to the fact that the regulation is destructive. If we applied that again would put the question of the withdrawal of [Russia’s] voting rights [to the PACE],” said the speaker.
The conditions on which Russia is ready to return to PACE will be the main topic of the talks between the leaders of the state Duma and the Federation Council with the Chairman of PACE Pedro Agramunt, said the Vice-speaker of the lower house, Peter Tolstoy, who was to head the Russian delegation in PACE. Negotiations of Russian and European parliamentarians to be held during the visit of Agramunt in Moscow from 11 to 13 January.
According to Volodina, the fate of the Russian delegation will depend on whether Agramunt re-elected as PACE President. The speaker noted that Agramunt supports the participation of all the “47 members of PACE in” that body.
The money paid
As previously reported , Russia last summer have fully paid their membership fee in PACE, despite the threats to cut funding for the organization. The contribution of Russia, former state Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin was estimated at about €32 million members of the PACE the exact amount is not known.
Russian parliamentarians began to discuss the possible withdrawal of funding of the PACE after the Russian delegation was sanctioned in response to the annexation of Crimea: Russians deprived of voting rights and possibilities to participate in the work of the statutory bodies of the Assembly and to observe the elections. At the first session in January of 2015, the Russian delegation was present, but left Strasbourg due to the fact that the sanctions were extended. From participating in PACE winter session in 2016, Russia has refused, without receiving the guarantees of the restoration of the powers.
Imminent change of the rules, the PACE should not wait, said General Director of the Russian international Affairs Council Andrey Kortunov. According to him, regulation of the PACE regarding the procedure of voting when the decision is made by the number of participants, is controversial: the decision is often made insignificant by a group of politically engaged deputies, he said . He doubts that the attitude of the Russian delegation in PACE will change.
The activities of the PACE attracts more attention than the activities of the Council of Europe, however, the Council has more substantive body, it accepts all significant decisions and fundamentally participate in the work of the Council of Europe, says the head of the foreign projects of the Centre for strategic research Sergey Utkin.
Work at PACE allows you to understand the mood among the participants, but it is not related to the work of the Assembly itself are not mandatory, drew attention Utkin. According to Kortunov, PACE is one of the most representative bodies, where all the States of Europe and even Eurasia, its platform could be used to advance their position and agenda.