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YABLOKO leaders meet with PACE Rapporteurs

Press Release
July 14, 2011

On July 14 YABLOKO leaders meet with members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Rapporteurs on the monitoring of Russia, Mr Andreas Gross and Mr Gyorgy Frunda, and Ms. Agnieszka Nachilo, Deputy Head of the Secretariat of the Monitoring Committee.

The rapporteurs are preparing a report on the monitoring of Russia's obligations and commitments entered upon accession to the Council of Europe for the presentation in the Parliamentary Assembly. The previous resolutions on Russia were adopted by PACE in 2005.

The YABLOKO party was represented by its Chair Sergei Mitrokhin, Dr.Grigory Yavlinsky, member of YABLOKOs Political Committee and founder of the party, and Sergei Kovalyov, human rights activist, member of YABLOKOs Political Committee and head of YABLOKOs Human Rights faction.

Discussing Russian membership in the Council of Europe and Russias implementation of its obligations before the CE, YABLOKOs representatives noted that the Council of Europe represents today the only bridge connecting Russia with the democratic world. Answering the question from PACE members how they could help Russia, YABLOKOs leaders said that the best aid is to say the truth [to the Russian counterparts as well as to EU members] about what has been happening in Russia and how Russia fulfils its obligations.

YABLOKOs leaders also expressed their view that, in contrast to Western diplomats and journalists working in Russia, Western politicians have only a vague notion of the situation in Russia. According to YABLOKOs representatives, it would be more efficient if PACE could establish a special expert council on Russia.

Sergei Mitrokhin proposed to change the principles of PACE formation. According to him, Russias deputies in PACE should be elected via direct elections in Russia at CE control over such election. Only such deputies can really represent the Russian people in the Council Europe.

The participants of the meeting also discussed the economic situation in the European Union. Dr.Yavlinsky expressed his concern that in view of worsening of the economic situation in the EU Western politicians may increasingly rely on Realpolitik in their relations with Russia swapping democratic principles and values for oil and gas shipments.

According to Sergei Kovalyov, the Russian authorities rely on hypocrisy of the international politics which has been complying with the description given to it by Machiavelli.

Politicians are used to a situation when no one demands truth from them. Moreover what we all over the world are calling the democratic values has become today a kind of incantation or a mantra having no real actions behind it, Kovalyov said.

Sergei Kovalyov also noted that the key Russias problem is insult and negligence of our Constitution. But, according to Kovalyov, the CE has similar problems. Its charter task is to guarantee that all the member countries should observe human rights and democratic procedures. Unfortunately, it is far from always that the Council of Europe implements these tasks, he said.

The rapporteurs noted that in spite of the fact that Russia did not comply with all the CE standards on the moment of joining the Council of Europe, the country was undertaking certain efforts for implementation of its obligations. However, several years later Russia stopped making steps towards the Council of Europe, and the Council of Europe was not insistent enough so that to make Russia to implement its obligations.

The parties also discussed Russias implementation of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights and prospects of the YUKOS case in the European Court and the suit by YUKOS minority shareholders in the Hague Tribunal.

Grigory Yavlinsky answered the rapporteurs questions about YABLOKOs performance at elections and told them about the difficulties YABLOKO had to face.

In conclusion Sergei Mitrokhin expressed his thankfulness to the rapporteurs for the thought-inspiring and honest dialogue. According to Mitrokhin, Sergei Kovalyovs remarks on the efficiency of the CE were very significant. At the same time, we, the Russian civil democratic society, rather than state bureaucracy, need Russias membership in the CE, Mitrokhin said.

The Council of Europe and other European institutes represent an important instrument of influence, but it is also important who operates them. We would like these institutes to be applied more efficiently, he added.



See also:

Russia-EU Relations

Human Rights


Press Release
July 14, 2011

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