14. Nov. 2014
Russia is not the only country which expresses a lack of respect vis-à-vis the ECHR: You heard similar attitudes in UK and Switzerland
What happened during your visit to Moscow - main meetings, participants, main points which had been made?
We had Wednesday evening a meeting among us, the Committee of all five group leaders (CP) oft he Parliamentary Assembly oft he Council of Europe (PACE); Thursday we meat during three hours speaker Sergeij Narischkin together with three colleagues, made a press-conference and had lunch with him and in the late afternoon one and a half hours a discussion with all the 36 members oft he Duma who belong to the Russian delegation in the PACE.
Do you see any progress in achieving your goal - to make conditions for Russia for getting back all its credentials on January session?
Yes, indeed, there is a clear progress. First there is a clear will and dedication oft he Russian delegation to get the full credentials at the session oft he PACE end of January and to become a full-fledged member again. Second out oft he list of about 13 propositions we made after our last meeting in Paris, the Duma realised already 2 and agrees in many more. And we agreed to meet again before or after Christmas to deliver in even more points in order to get a chance to find at the next session oft he PACE a majority for the credentials of the Russian delegation. -- Because we have to be clear: 4 of the 5 group leaders would like to give the full credentials back to the Russians – but today the majority of the PACE would not vote like this. If we want to change the attitude in the PACE we still have to deliver more. And the central point will be in my view, that the Russian Parliamentarians are ready to auto-critically reflect what did happen under the orchestration of their leaders since March 2014 in there former brother country Ukraine.
i>What are your main concerns about Russian behavior during Ukrainian crisis?
First the annexation of an autonomous province of a neighbor country and a partner of the Council of Europe. Second the masterminding of a military action in several other parts of this partner country in order to provoke and sustain a war with thousands of deaths and misery among 5 million of inhabitants of this partner country. In doing both Russia did not live up to the commitments and the obligation a member of the Council of Europe signs: We do not change borders by force, we do not take away others propriety, we live up to promises concerning the integrity of the partner. When we have or see a problem we open negotiations and find a common understanding to overcome every problem.
Russia recently responded for the first time to ECHR that it doesn't want to answer to the questions of the Court. Do you have any worries about possible intention of Moscow to leave CoE eventually?
Russia is actually not the only country which expresses such unwillingness and a lack of respect to live up to its obligations vis-à-vis the ECHR in recent weeks: You heard similar attitudes in UK and Switzerland. I do not know if these people are aware that they would kill the CoE when they would realize such intentions or ideas and would have to leave the CoE when they undermine the Convention.
Apart from Russian actions in Ukraine, what are your main concerns as a rapporteur about internal situation in Russia?
My main concern is the regression of Democracy in Russia. The freedom of expression, the freedom of organization and meeting, as well as the freedom to think and say when you disagree with the power is reduced and hampered. Power people can disrespect human rights, black mail others, undermine the existence of opponents and are still never punished or faced with their responsibility. There is a abuse of power, enormous economic resources are wasted and lost because of corruption, the rich people do not pay the taxes the country would need so much to diversify its economy and to make the necessary investments for the strengthening of the schools, the universities, the road and rail infrastructure and the modernization of the economic infrastructure.
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