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    January 19, 2016

    Moscow's Voice is Not Welcome at PACE

    January 19, 2016

    Sergei Zinoviev

    Translated for Fort Russ by Kristina Rus

    Russia doesn't need PACE: Moscow will abandon the winter session

    Participation in PACE is purely symbolic for Russia. It is wiser to spend the membership fee on more important things

    State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin promised to solve the issue of Russian participation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) at the meeting of the lower house on Monday, but only when conditions for the normalization of relations between Russia and the West are met.

    Restrictions on Russia's participation in PACE have been in place for about two years. Sanctions have been imposed due to the events in Ukraine and reunification of Crimea with Russia. Russian delegates were deprived of voting rights and participation in the governing bodies of the Assembly and other missions. In response, Russia suspended its activities in the organization.

    At the moment Moscow has so far refrained from filing the application for participation in the January session of the Parliamentary Assembly. Naryshkin promised to closely monitor further developments and make a decision in the event conditions for open and fair parliamentary dialogue are met.
    The correspondent of the Federal Agency for Political News heard the opinion of two experts: deputy director of the Institute of International Studies, political analyst, historian and writer Victor Mizin and political analyst, psychologist and writer Stanislav Byshok.

    Russia is Europe's enemy

    Mizin called today's Europe's attitude towards Russia one-sided. "They consider us the enemy. It is necessary to understand that we are the enemy state for the Old world today, because we work against all the European 'values'. When Korean crisis broke out in the 50-ies of the last century, USSR did not participate in the war by decision of Security Council. Now American troops are in South Korea with UN mandate, which causes great dissonance, and wariness from North Korea".

    According to Mizin, it is now critical for Russia to join the different blocks and coalitions. International cooperation is an essential part of politics. Hundreds of conferences are conducted in Europe to address Ukrainian issues. The Russian Embassy is obliged to organize such events, as previously mentioned by the former foreign minister Sergei Ivanov.

    "We must have a presence in Europe, hardly anyone will be scared by that, — said the analyst. - But today Russia is deprived of such opportunity. To be in Europe means to communicate with people, establishing good-neighbourly relations, it is the so-called soft power. In our current predicament, we need to be everywhere and show that we are open to dialogue and are not afraid of anything".

    Expensive membership

    Political analyst, psychologist and writer Stanislav Byshok called Russia's membership in PACE purely symbolic, but at the same time - expensive. "The amount is quite significant and it is better spent on other goals, more important for the country," - he said.

    "De facto PACE is just like the Big 8, from which Russia was excluded, but in fact, there is no organization, in fact it's just talks between the presidents of countries, calling themselves the Big 8. PACE is a more institutionalized structure, however, by and large there is no substantial benefit to Russia from being or not being there. In time, when relations between Russia and the EU will improve, European bureaucrats will themselves suggest to restore the full mobility in this structure", - Byshok assured FAPN.

    Limitations of privileges 

    What's happening, in his opinion, is nothing but political gestures originating from the West. Stanislav Byshok cited the sanctions policy that began with the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine.

    "Russian delegates were deprived of speaking privileges and they started walking away from the negotiation table. PACE is not a platform to conduct international politics, to paraphrase the words of Boris Gryzlov: "PACE is just a place for discussions",- concluded the expert.

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