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PACE ratifies the credentials of the Russian delegation

Piero Fasino (Italy, SOC)
©Council of Europe

PACE has ratified the credentials of the Russian parliamentary delegation by 97 votes to 41 after they were challenged on substantive grounds on the opening day of the session.

At the same time, it expressed its “utmost concern” over the deteriorating situation as regards pluralism, human rights and fundamental freedoms in Russia, and called on the authorities to fulfil the recommendations made in a series of Assembly resolutions passed since 2008. It also urged the Russian authorities to recall as soon as possible its troops from Ukrainian frontiers and stop the escalation of military tension.

In a resolution based on a report by Piero Fassino (Italy, SOC), the Assembly pointed out it can only play a “meaningful role” in the process of political dialogue over upholding Council of Europe values and standards if Russia is a member of the organisation and “fully participates in its bodies, co-operation mechanisms and activities”. The possibility to “hold the authorities accountable” was an important argument in favour of continuing co-operation at all levels, including at the parliamentary level, it said.

However, the Assembly also listed its concerns, including:

  • the incompatibility of the laws on foreign agents, undesirable organisations and extremism with Council of Europe standards;
  • the closure of the NGO Memorial;
  • the plight of Alexei Navalny, arrested and detained despite a Strasbourg Court judgment, and the events surrounding his poisoning;
  • shortcomings in electoral laws and the conduct of the 2021 Duma elections;
  • the escalating tensions threatening European security, and Russia’s build-up of troops along the Ukrainian border;
  • lack of progress in meeting Assembly requests over the 2008 war with Georgia, intervention in the Donbass and the illegal annexation of Crimea;
  • that none of the recommendations it made following recent challenges have been fulfilled;
  • Russia’s lack of co-operation in preparing a number of Assembly reports.

The Assembly said it expected that its ratification of the credentials of the Russian delegation “should be reciprocated by a meaningful dialogue, leading to concrete results”. It invited its Monitoring Committee to submit a report on the honouring of obligations and commitments by the Russian Federation not later than the end of 2022.

A separate challenge to the credentials made on procedural grounds was rejected by the Assembly’s Rules Committee yesterday.