Russia does not refuse to work in PACE despite skipping January session — senior lawmaker


MOSCOW, January 18. Russia’s refusal to take part in the January session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) does not mean complete refusal to work in this organization, speaker of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Valentina Matviyenko told reporters on Monday. “By refusing to travel to Strasbourg, we are not slamming the door. The Russian parliament is ready to resume work in the PACE in the event of observing equal rights and opportunities for all national delegations, including ours,” the senator said, commenting on the decision of the Russian delegation not to take part in the PACE’s January session. Matviyenko pointed to the importance of Russian lawmakers’ participation in the work of the PACE. “Without Russian parliamentarians who filled the organization’s work with ‘live’ content, the assembly’s role is becoming more and more decorative. This is seen by everybody. I hope that common sense will prevail in Strasbourg,” she added. She recalled that Russia had urged the PACE to stop the parliamentarians’ discrimination. “This appeal remained unanswered. As a result, we have what we have,” she said. The Federation Council’s speaker confirmed that “the Russian parliament had been an active and influential participant in the inter-parliamentary cooperation, both bilateral and multilateral, while the PACE was withering away before one’s eyes.” Speaker of Russia’s State Duma Sergey Naryshkin said earlier on Monday that the Russian delegation would not apply for participation in the January session of the PACE due to be held in Strasbourg from January 25 to January 29.