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All member States should play by the same rules, based on equal standards

On the first day of his working visit to the Russian Federation, the President of the Assembly met with Vyacheslav Volodin, Speaker of the State Duma, and Valentina Matvienko, Speaker of the Federation Council.

Discussions focused on the 25th anniversary of the Russian Federation’s membership of the Council of Europe, the achievements and challenges, and the importance of continued co-operation, based on trust, respect and partnership, shared values and common standards.

There was general agreement on the need for closer co-operation to tackle the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, hate speech and neo-Nazism, respect for diversity, freedom of expression and on-line communication. In addition to these issues, discussions with the Speaker of the Federation Council focused on women’s equal participation in public and political life, and tackling violence against women, including through the exchange of good practice via parliamentary hearings.

During the meetings, commitments regarding co-operation with PACE rapporteurs were confirmed.

The Speaker of the Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, invited the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to observe the forthcoming parliamentary elections in the Russian Federation, scheduled to take place in September 2021.

Other key issues will be addressed at tomorrow’s meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation. The President will also have a round-table discussion with representatives of civil society organisations.