Main of the aforementioned reasons for the return of the Russian Federation in PACE – providing easy access to the Russians of the ECHR. However, a number of media note: the real motivation was the loss of money that Russia has ceased to pay to the Assembly. As you can see this situation in Western publications, and whether they support the position of Ukraine on this issue?
Bloomberg writes that the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was not to allow financial problems to manage its decision on the renewal of the voting rights of Russia.
You can argue about the correctness of the original decision to deprive Russia of rights, but her return is clearly the wrong step. This is a bad example to other bodies and countries, which sanctioned Russia.
When the PACE 5 years ago voted to deprive Russia of voting rights, the Russian government did not want to accept it. Official Moscow began to threaten to opt out of membership in the Council of Europe and to ignore decisions of the European court of human rights.
But worst of all for PACE, familiar to a huge budget (416,7 million euros, or 474 million dollars in 2019), Russia has reduced its large financial contributions pay for only a third in 2017, and nothing in 2018 and 2019. In conjunction with the decision of Turkey to abandon its status as the main party, this represented a serious financial threat to the organization.
June 25, PACE adopted a resolution which provides for changing the sanctions regime and Russia’s return to work in your organization without limitation the right to vote. For the decision voted by 118 deputies, against – 62, 10 abstained.
The Ukrainian delegation left the hall and appealed to the Verkhovna Rada to urgently consider the issue of suspension of state participation in the Assembly.
Therefore, we can assume that money was an important motive in order to fall under Russian pressure. But, of course, it is the unofficial reason. So, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of France Emmanuel macron called on PACE to restore Russia for the sake of maintaining dialogue between East and West, and the Russian defenders are working to keep Russia under the jurisdiction of the ECHR.
The publication notes: a vote for the resolution on the return to Russia of rights in PACE was accompanied by the adoption of a biennial budget of the European Council.
Ukraine made this decision especially hard: her delegation had suspended work in the Assembly and urged President Vladimir Zelensky to consider whether the country to remain in the Council of Europe in the future.
However, as noted by a columnist for the newspaper, Ukraine, with a much smaller population and gross domestic product, less financially important for Assembly than Russia. In addition, given the intention to join the EU, Ukraine will only make things more difficult, leaving a European institution, which it already is.
A clear financial motive for the restoration of Russia is a stain on the reputation of the Council of Europe, and it will be an obstacle to further discussions with the Kremlin, which Merkel and macron supposedly want to see.
However, there is a logical remark: as soon as the sanctions imposed, should their application be consistent? That is, if Russia was deprived of voting rights in PACE for the annexation of Crimea, should not have to return it to the Assembly hall until, until the Peninsula will not return to Ukraine. Or, while PACE did not recognize the annexation (which is unlikely to happen).
Still, Russia most hopes that all remaining Western sanctions will disappear, because the Europeans understand the benefits of a return to closer economic cooperation. But the harm that would test Europe, sacrificing his principles, most likely, would exceed the benefits. So now even those who sympathized with Russia, continue to support sanctions.
What is the PACE? The parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe founded in 1949. Its purpose is to support democracy, human rights and the rule of law in 47 member countries, including all 28 members of the European Union. Covers more than 800 million citizens. The European court of human rights, which is part of the Council, is mandated to comply with the European Convention on human rights from 1953, which must adhere to all member countries.
The Independent focuses on the fact that the British government criticized the PACE’s decision on the return of the voting power of Russia after she lost it in 2014.
This decision, supported by France and Germany, was developed partly in order to maintain an open connection at a time of tension between East and West, and is a diplomatic boost for Moscow.
The British government does not support the return of Russia to the Assembly, said the publication, citing its own sources. But this view is obviously not shared by Tommy Sheppard, and Richard Balfe, who voted “for”. 8 British MPs voted against and three abstained.
We have consistently urged Russia to pay all budget contributions to the Council of Europe and to show that it is serious about the values of the Council of Europe, including human rights,
– quotes the edition of the representative of the British government.
The article also talks about the reaction to the decision of the Ukrainian politicians, who say that the vote was an eloquent display of complete disregard for the norms of international law.
Attached the opinion of British politicians, who argued that the absence of Russia in PACE can be disastrous for the country’s citizens, since the ECHR is “a last resort for many Russians who are unable to obtain justice at home.” By the way, the greatest percentage of cases approved of the ECHR, is coming from Russia.
“I think we need to decide we do our best for the people of Russia, continuing to exclude parliamentarians from Council of Europe… I, along with most of the members of the Alliance believe that the restoration of relations with the conditions relating to issues that need to be addressed, is a reasonable way forward,” he explained his voice Balfe in an interview.
The Independent concludes: although the West accuses Moscow of covert operations to try to undermine their democracy, European diplomats said part of the reason to support her return was precisely economic. Moscow contributes to the budget about seven percent of the total contributions.
The New York Times opened an article about the return of Russia to the PACE by explaining the actual role of this organisation: the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe established to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law in 47 member countries.
Those who voted for it, explained its decision by the fact that we must return to ordinary Russians the right to appeal to the ECHR. Who voted “against” – declared that Europe is compromising my principles, in fact, turning a blind eye to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists in Eastern Ukraine.
The publication quoted the head of the Ukrainian delegation Volodymyr Aryev on the fact that it is a wrong signal to Moscow and other countries.
“Do what you want: seize the territory of another country, kill the people there – will still remain with all”, – he said.
Served reaction and a number of other Ukrainian politicians, in particular President Vladimir Zelensky, who are outraged by what happened.
In 2014, Russia increased its repressive behaviour at home and aggression abroad. The decision on returning of Russia in PACE shows that this behavior is acceptable. This is a dangerous precedent for others
– said the expert edition Alina Polyakova.
She added that since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia invaded the Donbass, supported Assad in Syria, intervened in the elections in the USA and Europe, tried to kill Skipala and more. The question arises how this behavior justifies the membership in the Council of Europe?
How was the vote in PACE: video
The Telegraph writes that this is the first case when an international body overturned the punitive measures taken against Russia for the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent invasion of Eastern Ukraine.
The publication quoted President Vladimir Zelensky, who was “disappointed by this decision”, and the head of the Russian delegation, Peter Tolstoy, who accused the British and Ukrainian members of the Assembly which tried to block the decision and, “in addition to spending time and tests the nerves of his European colleagues, have not achieved anything”.
The Ukrainian delegation also argued that due to the fact that Russia has not yielded to the requirements of the Council of Europe regarding the Crimea and occupied the Eastern regions of Ukraine, the lifting of the ban means “surrender” of these territories.
Our main question is not the return of Russia as such. And the fact that Russia didn’t do anything. No concessions. What we have here is not diplomacy, and unilateral surrender,
– quotes the edition of the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Council of Europe Dmitry Kuleba.
Also, the Ukrainian diplomats will recommend to the Parliament of Ukraine to withdraw the invitation to the PACE observers for the election on 21 July and has called on Vladimir Zelensky and Ministry of foreign Affairs of Ukraine to “reconsider” relations with the PACE.
Why is Russia deprived of voting rights in PACE? This happened in 2014 because of the aggression of Russia against Ukraine: the annexation of Crimea, occupation of Donbas and human rights violations, particularly in these areas.
PACE recognized that the occupation of Donbass is Russia, and changed the wording of the resolution, which stated “actual control” of these territories from the Russian Federation. In addition, the Assembly approved the resolution in respect of Ukrainian political prisoners. It condemned torture, we are talking about inadequate conditions of detention of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia, and provides requirements for their release.
Russian officials all the time pressured PACE, trying to achieve the lifting of sanctions. Since the end of June 2017, Moscow has suspended the payment of contributions to the Council of Europe, stating that he would not do this until the resumption of office of the delegation.