Russia and Europe to divorce?

Wednesday could be a critical day for Russian-European relations. Russia is threatening to leave the Council of Europe if it’s stripped of its powers at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The PACE members – 24 of them – have come up with a draft resolution to
deprive Russian delegations of voting rights at the assembly over the events in South Ossetia.

There have been previous instances of Russia losing its powers at PACE. During the second Chechen war Russia was temporarily denied the right to vote.

This time seems to be different though. Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Russian delegation, promised to advise Russian leadership to leave the Council of Europe if Russia loses its voting right

 Fact box

– Russia has been a PACE and the Council of Europe member since 1996
 – Since then Russia has ratified 56 and signed 15 main documents of the Council of Europe
 – Russia is one of the main sponsors of the Council of Europe along with Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy. Russia’s annual membership fee of more than 24 million euros constitutes 12 per cent of the Council of Europe budget.