Quarter of century.

For so long, Russia has been a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Since February 1996, all kinds of things have happened.

Our parliamentarians (and through them, the country) were pressured, threatened, deprived of their powers, cut off their functions, boycotted, blasphemed, set political freaks on them ... But each time Russia withstood the roll, forcing the Europeans to listen again and again, it means knowing and taking into account the Russian point of view on the most pressing political issues.

How else?

After all, we are neighbors on the continent.

Now it looks like the crisis is coming again.

The topic of the round table held on March 1 at the Federation Council literally cries about this: "25 years of Russia's membership in the Council of Europe: cooperation or confrontation."

Leonid Slutsky, head of the State Duma's international affairs committee, called the discussion interesting, and it seems that there is a lot of diplomacy in this assessment.

To break is not to build, the politician is careful.

“Everything here needs to be carefully weighed and, as they say, measured seven times,” he emphasized, commenting on the statements of his colleagues about Russia's possible withdrawal from PACE.

With all the reservations, the dialogue can be continued.

In any case, the parliamentarian points out, the president will decide on the prospects for Russia's membership in PACE.

But it's true.

There is a Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, approved by the head of state back in 2016, which sets the task of continuing to work "within the framework of the Council of Europe as an independent universal European organization, ensuring, through its unique convention mechanisms, the unity of the legal and humanitarian space of the continent."

Why then disputes?

And to the fact that there are different opinions on the PACE.

Even among the members of our delegation.

Including radical ones.

Thus, the Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy is sure that until Russia formulated clearly why it participates in PACE activities, “everything will be so - a confrontational approach, persecution of Russia on political issues, defamation and devilization of the country in the eyes of public opinion of all countries Council of Europe ".

“It won't be otherwise.

We have no allies, ”the politician complained. 

In Russia's ratification of the basic European Convention on Human Rights, which was one of the conditions for membership in PACE, Tolstoy sees not only advantages - a certain humanization of domestic legislation and law enforcement practice - but also a banal personal interest of officials.

“Everyone likes to go on business trips,” the politician cuts the truth.

"But for the sake of business trips of representatives of departments, I, for example, do not consider it possible to humiliate our country, which occurs there during all these discussions."

I agree.

In principle, Russia, if Europe becomes too impudent, could freeze its membership in PACE again, as it already did after the deprivation of our delegation of powers because of Crimea.

Then we stopped making our contributions and stopped participating in meetings.

And the prudent Europeans howled, and then completely backed down.

The habit of scrupulously counting sonorous thalers prevailed.

Shouldn't Moscow do this trick again?

Judging by the sentiments of some of our politicians, this is not excluded.

Senator Konstantin Kosachev, in particular, speaks about the freeze.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is not in a hurry to cut from the shoulder, but they do not let Strasbourg go down.

Russia is ready to work in the Council of Europe on the basis of the organization's charter, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, adding that without Russia he would lose "the common European quality" and, therefore, the raison d'être.

Lavrov advised the Council of Europe to move away from double standards, ideological biases and refrain from imposing non-consensual documents.

Will they listen?

After all, the rush to the Russian Federation is not due to violation of any legal norms, but due to the strengthening of its political subjectivity and independence. 

All these pros and cons will have to be weighed by our politicians before taking this or that drastic step.

Perhaps State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin will be able to tip the scales on our side, who will meet with PACE President Hendrik Dams on March 15.

If there are hawks and pigeons in politics, the speaker is rather the last one.


Even from a position of strength.

“The sanctions are taken unreasonably, without discussion.

The question is - what is PACE for then?

We will discuss this and much more, ”the parliamentarian promised, recalling the importance of dialogue.

We'll see.

The point of view of the author may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.