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PACE and The Kremlin

January 26, 2015

As the end of 2014 approached, this entry appeared regarding the issue of currently suspended Kremlin voting rights within the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – PACE – and whether or not those voting rights would be returned in January 2015 when the original suspension is due to expire.  As tweeted yesterday:

Thus there are questions to ask.

The first, naturally, is whether The Kremlin has done anything to alter the circumstances for which its voting rights were suspended by PACE initially.  The answer is clearly not – indeed it has done nothing but consistently undermine Ukrainian sovereignty since those rights were suspended.

The justification for returning PACE voting rights to The Kremlin is therefore somewhat problematic for those that would support such a move.

The question that then follows, is whether The Kremlin, if having its voting rights suspended for another year, will see any benefit whatsoever, of remaining within PACE as an organisation?

The skepticism with which The Kremlin generally holds PACE (and the OSCE) is not a secret – but both have been useful institutions for The Kremlin to try and test the regional waters regarding its views.  However to put matters as diplomatically as possible, The Kremlin relationship with PACE (and the OSCE) is certainly contentious at best – and more than a little obstructionist at worst.

Would PACE remain as relevant without a regional actor such as Russia, should it leave the organisation?

Would it perhaps become a far better institution without Kremlin obstructionism?

How does PACE deal with Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian military pilot captured in eastern Ukraine yet currently in jail in Russia – a woman whom during her detention was elected to the new RADA and forms part of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE?  Does she (or will she) enjoy immunity, and would Russia remaining within or without PACE make any difference to her chances of being released from what is clearly unlawful imprisonment, even prior to an immunity as a PACE delegate?

We are about to find out in the very near future!

 

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