Issues related to the recent amendments to the Russian Constitution and issues of protection of the rights of the Russian-speaking people in the Baltic states and Ukraine were discussed at the meeting. Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Petr Tolstoy also proposed to prepare a joint statement on countering COVID-19.
“We discussed several issues of concern to the Russian parliamentary delegation to PACE and also issues related to cooperation between Russia and the Council of Europe, considered as the main platform for dialogue with the Western states,” said Petr Tolstoy after the meeting.
According to him, the meeting participants discussed the recent amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the rights of Russian-speaking people in Ukraine and the Baltic states, the problem of glorification of neo-Nazism, as well as “equal attitude to all member states of the Council of Europe and inadmissibility of teaching such country like Russia lessons by anyone”. Petr Tolstoy stressed that the issues on countering COVID-19 within the framework of the Council of Europe were also discussed at the meeting.
“I am convinced that we will continue this dialogue within the framework of PACE and with the Secretary General as well,” stressed Petr Tolstoy.
The Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutskiy noted that “the visit of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe showed that she supported the idea of a very constructive cooperation with Russia.”
“Yesterday, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov rightly noted that the institutional crisis between the Council of Europe and Russia is over,” said Leonid Slutskiy. “But I would not think so optimistic about the current situation in PACE, as there are enough […] opponents of good cooperation with Russia, with the Federal Assembly. They initiate proposals and draft resolutions, which mispresent the Russia’s current role in European affairs. Many of them, unfortunately, are based on falsification of facts, including the history of World War II, and that is completely unacceptable,” said the member of the State Duma.
At the same time, the parliamentarian added that “the number of constructive voices of parliamentarians in national delegations in the Council of Europe continued to increase.” “We remain in contact with them,” said Leonid Slutskiy and added that the Russian side had already proposed to hold more joint events with European colleagues.
Petr Tolstoy stressed that the absence of double standards and a normal, trusting dialogue would ensure the future of the Council of Europe.
“We are convinced that strict observance of the rules of procedure, the absence of double standards and a normal, trusting dialogue will definitely ensure the future of the Council of Europe,” he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the State Duma Viacheslav Volodin also drew attention to that, stressing that “the reluctance of European colleagues to build relations on the principles of mutual respect and not to use double standards turned the citizens of their countries into hostages of such a policy.”
The issue of water supply in Crimea was also raised at the meeting with Marija Pejčinović Burić. “We drew attention to the situation with the water supply of the Crimean citizens. The situation is dire. In Simferopol, water is provided only at particular time,” said Leonid Slutskiy, noting “a gross violation of human rights of the Crimean citizens,” but that issue was ignored in Strasbourg.
The Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs also drew attention to a proposal of Petr Tolstoy to prepare a joint statement on countering the coronavirus pandemic. “In our opinion [Petr Tolstoy] voiced a very sound initiative, which was supported by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe,” said Leonid Slutskiy.
“The Committee of Ministers [of the Council of Europe] could prepare such statement first and probably later the Parliamentary Assembly, a joint statement of the Council of Europe and Russia on the joint efforts to counter the COVID-19 pandemic within the framework of the Council of Europe,” added the parliamentarian.