Russia could make ‘cautious’ return to PACE – new head of Duma International Relations Committee

The hemicycle of the PACE at the Palace of Europe © Adrian Grycuk
MP Leonid Slutsky, who is poised to head the International Relations Committee in the new State Duma, has approved the gradual return of Russia to the European parliamentary assembly (PACE), once the body stops its policy of “discrimination” against Moscow.

I am a supporter of the cautious movement in direction of the return, but only if they completely reconsider the discrimination mechanism that has been launched earlier and give us full guarantees that the Russian delegation’s powers in PACE will never be restricted in a discriminatory manner,” Slutsky told RIA Novosti.

The official added that the Russian parliament maintained contact with all political groups of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and that its representatives would continue to monitor the developments in it.

READ MORE: Top lawmaker rules out Russia’s return to PACE in coming session

Slutsky will chair the State Duma International Relations Committee after its previous head, MP Aleksey Pushkov, was elected into the legislative assembly of West Russia’s Pskov Region, which will now send him to the upper house of the federal parliament. Before this appointment, Slutsky was also a lower house MP and a deputy head of Russia’s delegation in PACE.

Russia cut off almost all ties with PACE in April 2014, when the assembly approved a resolution that blamed Russia for the political crisis in Ukraine. PACE also stripped the Russian delegation of its voting rights and banned it from participating in the group’s ruling bodies or monitoring missions.

Russian lawmakers responded by issuing a resolution stating that nations which have repeatedly violated international law and caused thousands of casualties have no moral right to judge Russia or impose sanctions on it.

Russia’s delegation members left PACE after the scandal because they considered it impossible to resume discussions while the sanctions were in force. However, Russia still remains a member of the Council of Europe and Russian officials have repeatedly stated that the relations can be improved if other members of the group stop their discriminatory actions.

In early September Sergey Naryshkin, who was still in the capacity of State Duma speaker, released an article in a popular daily in which he called for radical changes to PACE and warned that the dependence from “Atlantic forces” could completely marginalize the body.

READ MORE: Duma speaker calls for urgent reform of PACE

The United States is trying to deprive other nations of time required for evolutionary development, forcing them into making sudden leaps. The experiments in revolutions are being made in many nations, even in their natural partners such as the countries of the European Union,” Naryshkin wrote. “It seems that the transatlantic plans to achieve absolute domination have transformed into an unhealthy maniacal idea.”

He went on to emphasize the necessity of breaking the artificial connection between the internal politics of European nations and the processes developing in international politics. Naryshkin then stated that Russia is inclined towards constructive dialogue with its European partners and the United States, but only on condition that this will be a dialogue of equals.