Olena Sotnyk: “The return of Russia to PACE will destroy this institution”

The Ukrainian parliament has made a decision in which it addressed all members of the Council of Europe condemning the possibility of the return of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe without fulfilling its obligations, in particular, to stop the aggression in Ukraine.

MP Olena Sotnyk, who is also a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the PACE explains, “This is due to the fact that now Russian agents have begun active lobbying for amendments to the Council of Europe’s Regulations which provide for sanctions for any delegation. When the Russian war against Ukraine began, such sanctions were applied to the Russian Federation. That is why the latter actually left the Parliamentary Assembly and did not participate in it for four years. Now there is an idea to eliminate these sanctions in order for the Russian Federation to come back.”

The parliamentarian continues, “This discourse began when resorting to blackmail the Russian Federation stopped financing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; that is, it stopped paying its $33 million of contributions. The Ukrainian side came up with an offer for all countries simply to share this contribution and pay no attention to the blackmail of the Russian Federation. This year, Ukraine voluntarily provided 400,000 dollars in order to prove the seriousness of its position. But, unfortunately, we were supported by a small number of colleagues. To date, only a few countries have also made additional contributions.”

At the same time, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe keeps supporting the discussions that it is necessary to talk with Russia and to look for the ways to return it to PACE, even though it is an aggressor country.

“In fact, this is a pro-Russian format of discourse,” notes Olena Sotnyk. “Moreover, in recent weeks, Russia has stated several times that they are not even considering the possibility of returning to the Council of Europe until the sanctions are removed, which confirms the fact of lobbying.

Accordingly, we are now actually having a diplomatic war of Russia against Ukraine, a pro-Ukrainian coalition against the pro-Russian lobby and Russian money. This war will take place in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on October 8-9.”

The return of Russia to the organization would be at least a short-sighted step on the part of the members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The MP summarizes, “Today they return Russia, tomorrow there might as well be some violations by other countries, and the organization will actually lose the mechanism of influence on its members if they violate the key principles and rules of this organization. This will destroy the institution itself and will make it meaningless. I think this is the key task of the Russian Federation.

What is the Russian Federation most afraid of? To have its violations to be publicly recognized; to be publicly recognized as an aggressor, an undemocratic country. And the Council of Europe, in particular, the Parliamentary Assembly and the European Court of Human Rights, do it systematically. Therefore, for Russia, it is better to destroy such an organization instead of constantly receiving reminders that they are an aggressor, they have started a war and they do not respect human rights inside the country.”

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