Council of Europe (CoE)
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Concerning the Suspension of Payment of Russia's Contribution to the Council of Europe for 2017
The Russian Federation expresses concern over the aggravating crisis within the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
As is known, in their attempt to "punish" the delegation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation for the free expression of will by the residents of the Crimean peninsula, who voted for the accession of the Republic of Crimea to the Russian Federation, in 2014–2015 PACE members restricted the credentials of the Russian parliamentary delegation to such an extent that it made its participation in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly impossible.
Since then, the situation in PACE has only been deteriorating: a frenzied campaign is being run to persecute parliamentarians who wish to normalize interaction with Russia in the framework of the Council of Europe as early as possible and preserve the infrastructure of pan-European cooperation in accordance with its Statute.
The crisis within PACE may also affect other bodies of the oldest pan-European organization and become systemic. Besides, the suspension of Russian parliamentarians from participation in the upcoming approval of the Council of Europe senior officials in PACE, including Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General, Commissioner for Human Rights and Judges of European Court of Human Rights, will question their legitimacy in the context of relations between Russia and the Council of Europe as a whole.
In view of the current developments, the Russian Federation decided to suspend payment of its contribution to the budget of the Council of Europe for 2017 until full and unconditional restoration of the credentials of the delegation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in PACE.
At the same time, the Russian Federation continues its meaningful work in the Council of Europe including implementation of its obligations under the Conventions to which it is a Party.
We call upon all responsible Member States of the Council of Europe to make every effort to jointly overcome the crisis within the Assembly as soon as possible in order to "achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress," as defined in Article 1 of the Statute of the Council of Europe.