The Assembly today called on the member States of the Council of Europe “to recognise Vladimir Putin as illegitimate after the end of his current presidential term and to cease all contact with him, except for humanitarian contact and in the pursuit of peace.”
The Assembly emphasised that Vladimir Putin has held power as President or Prime Minister since 2000. Amendments to the Russian Constitution in July 2020 extended his potential presidency until 2036, raising concerns about the lack of checks and balances. This, coupled with growing repression against internal opponents and Russia's actions in Ukraine, underscores the cost of unchecked presidential power.
“The overwhelming power of the President resulting from the extremely long term in office combined with the lack of any checks and balances such as a strong parliament, an independent judiciary, free media and a vibrant civil society has turned the Russian Federation into a de facto dictatorship,” the parliamentarians said.
Unanimously adopting a resolution based on the report by Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD), the Assembly recalled the findings of the Council of Europe Venice Commission that “term limit waiver for the incumbent President violates both the Russian constitution and international legal principles.”
The Assembly pointed to the Russian aggression against Ukraine and its consequences as evidence that dictatorships “constitute a threat to the international peace and security and to the territorial integrity and political independence of their neighbours”, as defined in Article 2 of the UN Charter. Consequently, the parliamentarians asserted that restoring democracy in Russia is not only in the best interest of the Russian people but also of Europe and the entire world.
Lastly, the Assembly reaffirmed its support for the establishment of an ad hoc international criminal tribunal “to hold to account the Russian leadership, including Vladimir Putin”, accountable for their actions, starting with the unlawful annexation of Crimea, the war in the Donbas region, and the downing of flight MH17.