European court of human rights

Council of Europe returns Russia the right to vote

The Council of Europe on Friday adopted a declaration on the restoration of the rights of the Russian delegation, which were suspended in connection with the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Foreign ministers from the 47 states of the Council of Europe, by an overwhelming majority, supported the declaration, which states that all members should have equal rights to participate in the two main organs of the council.

This means that Russia has returned the right to vote.

Russia’s right to vote was suspended after the annexation of the Crimea. In protest, Russia, which has been in the Council of Europe since 1996, has stopped paying membership dues.

Senior representatives of the Russian authorities threatened to leave the Council of Europe, as a result of which Russian citizens would lose access to the European Court of Human Rights.

In Russia, meanwhile, the ministerial decision was met with skepticism.

“The position of the Russian Federation was absolutely exhaustive. It is understandable and consistent: Moscow is interested in working in PACE, in the Council of Europe, but this interest in the application plan can be realized only on an equal basis,” declared press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov, commenting on the equality of the Ministerial Committee of the Council of Europe. member countries of the organization.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia is not going to leave the Council of Europe and does not refuse to fulfill its financial obligations within the framework of this organization.

In turn, Leonid Slutsky, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, stated that the statement of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on Friday that all countries should have the opportunity to participate in the organization on equal terms does not solve the main issue raised by the Russian Federation.

“I cannot say that this document is something breakthrough here. We expected that the conference in Helsinki, which concludes the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, would take something similar, of course, given the desire to prevent Russia from secession from the Council of Europe, that all countries are welcomed, all delegations are welcomed. But a breakthrough in our system of coordinates did not even come close, ”Slutsky told.

“Here is our condition – it is not met,” – said the chairman of the committee.

The mission of the Council of Europe is to promote democracy and the rule of law in Europe. In particular, it includes Turkey and Ukraine.

After non-payment of contributions within two years, that is, from June of this year, Russia could be officially excluded from the Council of Europe by the decision of its executive committee. She could also leave the organization.

Moscow has suspended the payment of annual contributions in the amount of 33 million euros in 2017.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the time that the payment of contributions would resume only after “unconditional restoration in full of the authority of the delegation” of Russia to PACE.

In October, Council of Europe delegates voted to postpone a decision on the proposed amendment to the regulations, allowing the restoration of the voting rights of the Russian delegation.

Members of the Council of Europe are 47 countries. If Russia had left him, this would have been the first such case since the creation of this organization in 1949.

Russia’s exit would also mean that the Russians could no longer appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Russia joined the Council of Europe in 1996, after which the ECHR was littered with cases from Russia, when activists started blaming the country’s authorities for violating the European Convention on Human Rights.

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