Russia – State Duma Opens With Fiery Debate
Deputies also voted against paying contributions to the Council of Europe, which threatens to exclude Russia from this body and the ECHR
The Russian parliament has spoken out against sending a delegation and paying contributions to the budget of the Council of Europe, which increases the danger of Russia being expelled from this human rights body and the European Court of Human Rights.
The lower house of parliament, the State Duma, voted not to send a delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and not to pay dues amounting to around 30 million euros.
The mission of the Council of Europe is to promote democracy and the rule of law in Europe. It includes, in particular, Turkey and Ukraine.
State Duma Speaker Viacheslav Volodin said that the decision was made “exclusively in the interests of citizens” of Russia.
Russia has already suspended the payment of part of its contributions to the budget of the Council of Europe after it was deprived of the right to vote in 2014, after the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea.
The State Duma said in a statement that it “sees no reason” to send a delegation and resume payment of contributions.
After non-payment of contributions for two years, that is, from June of this year, Russia may be officially expelled from the Council of Europe by a decision of its executive committee. She can also leave the organization.
Moscow suspends € 33 million in annual contributions in 2017.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the time that payment of contributions would resume only after the “unconditional restoration of the full powers of the Russian delegation” to PACE.
In October, Council of Europe delegates voted to postpone a decision on a proposed regulation change that would restore voting rights to the Russian delegation.
47 countries are members of the Council of Europe. If Russia leaves it, it will be the first such case since the creation of this organization in 1949, which will mean that Russians will no longer be able to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights..
Russia joined the Council of Europe in 1996, after which the ECHR was inundated with cases from Russia, when activists began to accuse the country’s authorities of violating the European Convention on Human Rights.
By its decisions, the court ordered numerous activists to pay damages and compensation, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny and members of the punk group Pussy Riot..
Russian lawmakers said on Thursday that more than half of the ECHR judges were elected without the participation of Russian delegates, “which calls into question the legitimacy of the ECtHR decisions regarding Russia.”.
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