PACE monitors not expected at State Duma elections – top Russian MP

State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin speaks at a State Duma © Vladimir Fedorenko
Russian lower house speaker Sergey Naryshkin has ruled out the participation of PACE monitors in the upcoming State Duma elections because of the body’s continuing discrimination against the Russian delegation and the bias of the assembly’s representatives.

“One of the most numerous delegations in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe [PACE] – our delegation – has been absent from its sessions for a record long period throughout the whole 67-year history of this organization. This does not prevent other assembly members from expecting the annual Russian fee and from preparing monitors for our September parliamentary polls, even though no one in Russia expects these monitors,” Naryshkin said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily.

“It is not a secret for us that these monitors usually have certain biases,” he added.

READ MORE: Russia will return to European assembly only after powers restored in full – MP

The top Russian MP explained that the Russian side considered that many processes in PACE were managed from the United States, especially the processes concerning the group’s relations with Russia.

“Now we know the methods used in this manual management of the Strasbourg assembly. These are camouflaging red tape as the will of the assembly member states, writing resolutions based on no existing law but dictated by some ‘supervisors’ replacing honest discussions with these primitive papers, ignoring judicial facts and regular distortion of objectives mentioned in the Council of Europe’s charter,” he said.

Naryshkin also used the opportunity to address the people of Europe with a call to “stop looking for an enemy in a place where there is none” and instead pay more attention to parts of the world that pose a real threat to humanity’s common values.
“While our country is saving the world from terrorism, the EU nations have a growing understanding of importance of the dialogue with Russia over the economy and migration. And we can only express surprise over PACE’s willingness to deal with some imaginary problems instead of real ones,” the State Duma speaker stated.

Russia’s relations with PACE soured in April 2014 after the assembly approved an anti-Russian resolution on the political crisis in Ukraine. PACE also deprived the Russian delegation of the right to vote and banned it from participating in the group’s ruling bodies and monitoring missions until the end of that year. In late January 2015, the sanctions were prolonged for another year.

Russian lawmakers have replied with a resolution stating that nations that have repeatedly violated international law and caused thousands of casualties have no moral right to judge Russia or impose sanctions on it. After the scandal, Russian delegation members left PACE because they considered it impossible to resume discussions while sanctions were still in force.

READ MORE: ‘Useless and expensive’ - Russian MP presses for PACE exit

In late January this year the head of the State Duma Committee for International Relations, Aleksey Pushkov, said that no PACE mission would be allowed to take part in the monitoring of Russian polls until a delegation from Moscow is given back its full rights in the assembly.