Council of Europe (CoE)
Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko’s answer to TASS News Agency
Question: In recent years, Russian diplomacy has undertaken consistent efforts to help the Council of Europe emerge from a protracted institutional crisis. The ministerial meeting held in Helsinki has approved quite a few good decisions opening up the way for the return of Russian MPs to PACE. How has this influenced our contacts with the Council of Europe?
Alexander Grushko: Russia regards the Council of Europe as an important part of the international legal architecture that ensures the uniformity of the European legal space. Russia also attaches much importance to versatile cooperation with this organisation. Despite the crisis provoked by our delegation being illegally deprived of its key powers, we continue active interaction with all CE structures.
The past two years alone saw a number of Russian visits to the Council of Europe, including visits made by Russian Federation Supreme Court Chairman Vyacheslav Lebedev, heads of a number of Russian federal ministries and agencies, and Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation Tatyana Moskalkova. Just the other day, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill held a meeting with the Council of Europe leadership as part of his visit to Strasbourg.
In their turn, Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland and other members of the Secretariat regularly visit our country.
Incidentally, we have sent an invitation to Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović to visit Crimea. This visit can be arranged in the near future or at any other convenient time. We intend to create all the necessary conditions for Commissioner Mijatović to familiarise herself with the current Crimean realities. We hope that this visit will help the Council of Europe form an objective view on processes under way in Crimea.