Support The Moscow Times!

Russia Quits Cooperation with 'Russophobic' Council of Europe Assembly

Debating Chamber in Strasbourg, where the Assembly meets when it's in plenary session.

Russia has suspended cooperation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in a tit-for-tat move, accusing the council of making "xenophobic statements" and staging a "parade of Russophobia."

Head of Russia's delegation to the council, Alexei Pushkov, told newspaper Izvestia on Tuesday Russia would abstain from participating in the upcoming sessions of the body, known as PACE, until the sanctions imposed on its delegation over the political situation in Ukraine were lifted.

The announcement comes a week after State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin sent the European body a letter asking for the rights of the council's Russian delegation to be returned in a bid to "restore trust."

Asked in the Izvestia interview what Russia stood to lose by temporarily suspending cooperation with PACE, Pushkov said Russia would only miss out on "a parade of Russophobia."

"[Russia] will not be listening anymore to statements on how democratic the Kiev regime is," Pushkov, who also heads the State Duma's international affairs committee, said, "or how no one in Ukraine wants federalization, how there are no fascist organizations there and that the country is as 'united as ever.' "

"We also lose out on the chance to listen to xenophobic statements: like "the Russian people are very kind — they first offer you tea, and will then put a knife into you," Pushkov said.

The sanctions imposed by PACE in April due to the country's annexation of Crimea, stripped the Russian delegation of the right to vote and banned it from participating in its ruling bodies and monitoring missions until January 2015.

PACE unites parliament deputies from 47 European countries that meet four times a year to give recommendations on human rights and other issues, and also elect judges of the European Court of Human Rights.

Russia contributes 23 million euros to the Council of Europe's budget annually, making it one of top five donors. Following the sanctions, the Russian delegation hinted it might ask to retract this year's contribution.

See also:

Naryshkin Urges Council of Europe to Take Russia Back

Contact the author at

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more