When three weeks ago the Russian parliament has declared its refusal to take part in the work of PACE session, it was understood by majority as self-imposition of sanctions in order to avoid annual execution by condemnation of illegal actions of the Russian Federation in Crimea and Donbas and subsequent approval of introduced political restrictions in respect of the participation of the Russian delegation in its work. However, that was not the case. PACE opening has shown that Kremlin has not left its attempts to bypass sanctions and is going to mobilise all the attempts for diplomatic and financial pressure in order to get back to PACE in 2018.
The means towards this end include the use of prepaid influence agents accompanied by the so-called ‘useful idiots’ which either through depraved feeling or through incomprehension facilitate promotion of Kremlin’s revanchist plans. I may suppose with regret that one of the above mentioned instruments is the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Mr. Jagland.
Since before current PACE session during his tour to the capitals of the world he persuaded his high-ranking partners in advisability of supporting dialog with Russia and its recall to the PACE conference room, undermining thereby the West world’s line in the issues of the Russian aggression, violation of territorial integrity and military acquisition of the territory of other state. This line was supported during current PACE session as well. In his Assembly report he proceeded further stating that annexation and occupation of the territories should not be the reason for imposition of sanctions.
“The Organisation’s fundamental mission was to protect the individual against the arbitrary use of power by their own state, and conflicts such as the one between Ukraine and Russia over the annexation of Crimea should not prevent both parties being held responsible for protecting their people’s rights”. He advanced an opinion that Russia should get back to the PACE even before its summit scheduled for the next year.
Moreover, the official proposes not only excuse Russia, but to change the regulations in such a way to make impossible revocation of authority of delegations from different states. The question is the amendments of the rules for the Assembly. According to Mr. Jagland, only direct infringements of Arts 2, 3, 4 and 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights, namely capital punishment, tortures, forced labour or slavery and no punishment without law instead of annexation and occupation of alien territories may be the reason for sanctions.
One may feel as if the chimeras of the past rose from the chasm of the previous century and speak from the mouth of PACE Secretary General: there is no way to divide Europe, the only true solution is living friendly and conflicts may not prevent it. That was such highly humanist considerations about the “people’s interest” which accompanied former jaglands’ attempts to appease an aggressor after the USSR occupied Central and South European states in 1944-1948, crushed the Hungarian revolution of 1956 in the blood, intruded into Czechoslovakia in 1968, occupied Afghanistan, shot down South Korean Boing 747…
Does Mr. Jagland really have gaps in knowledge of history? Or probably the fact that Soviet Criminal Code which stipulates capital punishment is resumed within the territories occupied by the Russian Federation, that pro-Russian separatists have shot Ukrainian servicemen and military hostages were forced to slave labour, subjected to tortures and abuse, are still unknown for him?
Ukrainian political prisoners in the Russian Federation, relatives of many Russians who disappeared without a trace after their conflicts with the authorities (particularly in Kadyrov’s Chechnya), Crimean Tatars might tell Mr. Jagland a lot in response to his statement of no formal causes to deprive Russian delegation the vote, such as tortures or capital punishment.
Perhaps, everything is quite simple and Mr. Jagland grinds his own axe, as Organisation faces difficulties following Russia’s refuse to make contributions in CoE budget in response to sanctions? And the price of it is €33 m. It turns out that in view of income support and for ‘thirty pieces of silver’ Mr. Jagland and his pro-Russian colleagues-deputies, hiding behind the parade of words about human rights and Common Europe, are about to trade European values.
Jagland & Co.’s scenario following the return of the Russian delegation to PACE is becoming known. After the negotiations in the special committee (an ad-hoc Committee on ‘The role and mission of the Parliamentary Assembly’) late in June at the PACE session the decision on the amendment of the Assembly procedures, i.e. on liquidation of sanction instrument, may be supported. In case of success of the adherents of Russia’s return, the voting will be held in the Committee of Ministers and the Statute of the Council of Europe will be amended. If these requirements are satisfied, we may anticipate Russia’s triumphal entry into the PACE conference hall.
Today the only legal and proper prerequisite to lift sanctions from Russia is Moscow’s recognition of the violations (the issue is Crimea in Donbas) and taking at least first steps to implement PACE resolutions. Instead of this, Mr. Jagland initiates the hybrid direction of return of Russian delegation to the PACE conference hall through revision and removal of several provisions from the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly. European values as the basis for CoE operation is substituted by political gaming.
The next meeting of the PACE special committee shall be held on 16 March in Paris. Initiators of the mechanism which may result in lifting sanctions from Russia and involving it back in the PACE work lay high hopes on this meeting. Still the question is, may it cause a split within PACE?