Political parties represented in the State Duma of the Russian Federation have become a full-fledged element of the Russian war-machine. Specifically, the ruling United Russia party became a part of the system of recruitment, financial and informational support for terror against Ukrainians.
The United Russia party opened a number of branches in the occupied territories of Ukraine, while their MPs are recruiting and setting up military formations to be sent to Ukraine. In this regard, such Russian political parties have acquired the appearance of paramilitary groups.
Moreover, even before the full-scale invasion, United Russia granted membership to leaders of Russian-backed administrations in the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In particular, European Parliament resolution 2014/2965(RSP) on the situation in Ukraine condemns “acts of terrorism and criminal behaviour of the separatists and other irregular forces”. After the full-scale invasion, United Russia launched a full-fledged process of incorporating these organisations that have been de jure recognised as terrorist in Ukraine and de facto by the European Parliament. This includes the formation of the Donetsk Republic, 43 000 members of which had joined United Russia.
These facts attest the terrorist nature of parties in the Russian State Duma that had previously voted for illegal decisions that encroach the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and other countries, including the United Russia party, which granted membership to members of terrorist organisations. Given that their activities directly violate human rights in Ukraine and elsewhere, the Council of Europe member States should make a legal assessment of the status of such Russian political parties as groups and entities involved in terrorist acts that are subject to institutional sanctions.