The Russian delegation has returned to the PACE, riding a white horse, and to some extent it may be considered the case by Russia itself. But, this may be, in fact, a failure.

The Kremlin has seriously deteriorated its financial stance as Moscow had to pay debts on membership dues to the budget of the Council of Europe in the total amount of about 100 million euros, of which 33 million debt for 2019, 55 million “plus interest” for 2017-2018. A huge amount is not it!?

Despite successful Russia’s attempt to push Pyotr Tolstoy to the leading posts in the PACE, he has so far failed to promote Kremlin’s project in the Assembly – legalization the annexation of Crimea as well as granting a legitimate status to representatives of the so-called “DPR” and “LPR”.

Meanwhile, the adoption of the PACE resolution (on January 30) has not become so joyful as its triumphal return therein and has become another blow. The Kremlin was obliged to take measures to stop violations of democratic human rights and freedoms, in particular regarding LGBTI communities and the rule of law, both in the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea and throughout Russia. The PACE resolution also obliged Moscow to respect the Minsk agreements, to stop military intervention and cease support for the “DPR” and “LPR” terrorist groups in eastern Ukraine and demanded cooperation with the investigation into the disaster of flight MH17.

It is a clear position regarding hot point violations committed by Russia for these years, is not it?!

Russia’s reaction was rather predictable. Mr Tolstoy, after the end of the PACE 2020 winter session, stated that Moscow would never agree with the Council of Europe postulates regarding Crimea, problems with violation of the rights of the LGBTI community and the implementation of the ECHR’s decisions.

Where is the danger?

Russia is not a simple member, but is occupying now the leadership role in PACE due to Mr Tolstoy election. Many experts predict Mr Tolstoy will for love or money try to spread the message about the need to legalize the annexation of Crimea and the legitimization of “DPR” and “LPR” not only as the head of the Russian delegation, but also as the PACE Vice President. Russia is famous for its “repetition tactics of convenient truth”.

In any case such Russia’s statements and neglect of PACE’s position will discredit the body specifically created to build Europe without borders and to protects democratic values on the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

It worth mentioning that Russia occupies 134th place on the “Democracy Index” for 2019 neighboring the Republic of Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Russia was also included in the list of countries with an authoritarian regime along with the Republic of Zimbabwe (which began to overtake the Russian Federation a couple of years ago), the State of Qatar, the Kingdom of Cambodia and some others.

Against such background what kind of protection of human rights are we talking about?! It is rather outright defiance against organisations protecting civil rights and liberties of modern world!

  • By J.Rudnitsky (Moscow re-r for Bloomberg)
  • D.R.