The return of Russian delegation to PACE appeared to be serious test not only for this organization, but for the whole system of European partnership in general. It is well known that Russia was banned from taking part in PACE meetings as the result of brutal violations of international law. Recently, Russia was granted permit to access PACE work.
The report about the return of Russian delegation was prepared by the representative of left wing party of Netherlands Tiny Cox, also known as “Kremlin lobbyist”. There is a joke on the sidelines that PACE is under influence of Cox (coke in other words).
However, on Jan.29 2020 PACE has fully recovered the status and authority of Russian delegation without any conditions complied by Russia. The next day the new resolution on the monitoring was adopted, which requires Russia to implement Minsk agreements, to put the end to military intervention, to stop support of illegal armed units at the East of Ukraine and occupation of Crimea. Resolution also contains requirement to Russia to cooperate with joint investigative team and Dutch prosecutors in regard of MH-17 case.
Therefore, PACE returned the delegation of aggressor state to its ranks which occupied the part of other country (which is also PACE member) and supports illegal armed units. Moreover notorious vice-speaker of the Russian State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy was elected as the deputy chairman of PACE. What is the key to the secret of such tremendous loyalty, shown to Russia?
There are some essential reasons for that. One of them was exposed by Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić, who stated that Russian membership payments were important to maintain stable work of organization. It is obvious that 30 million dollars payment is enough price for absolution, even if there is no evidence that sinner shows any remorse.
The second reason is less obvious. PACE has never had consensus about the need to return Russian delegation. F.e. France and Germany called for continuing dialogue with Russia to find consensus. At the same time, it met strong opposition of East European countries, because their rough experience of relations with Russia shows that call for dialogue and reaching consensus is sign of weakness for Russia. Misunderstanding of Russian mentality and treating Russia as the European country has made European politics do mistakes one by one. Returning Russia to PACE is one of the most serious mistakes.
In this context we have to highlight the fact that Russia was returned to PACE – the organization of parliamentary partnership in times of ongoing parliamentary reform in Russia. This reform not only breaches the main principles of parliamentary democracy, but also contradicts with the division of state power (legislative, executive and judicial ones). Implementing this reform, Russian president signed the Statute of the State Council, which includes the leaders of parties represented in the State Duma. Being the chairman of the State Council of RF, the president rules the political parties of State Duma. Therefore the delegates of PACE from Russia can be only loyal deputies. The constitutional reform also implies priority of national law over international law, that is why it is going to be extremely difficult to protect human rights in Russia from now.
In this case the comeback of Russian delegation to PACE cannot stop the aggressive policy of Russia, likewise it will create additional difficulties for its work. No doubt that Kremlin is going to use international tribune of PACE for its own purposes – to justify aggression and to legitimate its actions either on international or domestic levels.