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Leonid Slutsky: We should think about suspending or freezing Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe

Leonid Slutsky, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, on the statement of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Jagland:

“This is a typical game of the Council of Europe to get ahead of the curve in a very non-Gentlemen situation. Jagland makes such statements as a secretary-general who is cornered. He’s not a pro-Russian or anti-Russian. He’s a senior official in the Council of Europe who simply has not enough financial resources.

As for Russia, we are simply tired of the endless Russophobic hysteria, tired of destructive policies, discrimination and double standards in PACE, which have nothing in common with the spirit of democracy and the rule of law. The four-year crisis in relations with the Assembly has created a situation where the delegation of a country that had been one of the main contributors to the Council of Europe for many years, does not participate in the election of judges of the ECHR and the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe. Accordingly, our cooperation with these institutions of the Council of Europe is becoming less and less legitimate. And even if one imagines that with the established alignments the Assembly in some mysterious or fantastical way makes amendments to the resolution on the report of Petra de Sutter, that exclude sanction rules, it can only happen not earlier than January 2019. With a high degree of probability, it means, that the possibility of submission of the Russian delegation’s application to participate in the PACE work next year is excluded, and therefore, Russia is likely to miss the election of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

All this increases critical awareness that we should not already hold on to membership in the Council of Europe. I say this with sincere regret, because the widest European ground may be lost. But because of current destructive policies of the organization and its institutions, first of all, the PACE, perhaps we should think about suspending or freezing Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe without waiting for some anti-Russian hotheads to start the process of exclusion”.

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