war in Ukraine. Russia announces its withdrawal from the Council of Europe

According to the Russian news agency TASS, citing the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russia announced this morning that it will “no longer participate” in the Council of Europe. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said this implied Russia’s withdrawal from all Council of Europe organs, including the European Court of Human Rights.

“The enemy countries of the EU and NATO continue to destroy the organization and the common law space in Europe,” he estimates, to explain the State Department’s decision.

“No official statement”

This decision was not communicated to the Council of Europe, which learned from the press. “We have not received any official notification from Russia,” replies the Council, with which DNA was contacted.

Russia, a member of the Council of Europe since 1996, was removed from its political organs (the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly) the day after the invasion of Ukraine began, meaning that its ambassador and parliamentarians could no longer participate in the work. Of these two bodies, however, the Council continued Russia’s participation in other bodies, notably the ECHR.

The new sanctions were to be discussed this Thursday morning in the Committee of Ministers and in the Parliamentary Assembly, which will meet in an extraordinary session earlier this week. For this reason, with this announcement made on Thursday, Russia is leading the way in possible sanctions that may lead to exclusion.

According to Moscow, the Council is “a puppet structure used to support anti-Russian hatred”.

“The Council of Europe has long gone from being the most important international platform for equal dialogue to a puppet structure used to promote anti-Russian hostility. There is no dialogue here,” said Petr Tolstoy, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma and head of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council, as quoted by the Russian agency TASS. According to him, “the imposition of LGBT values, attempts to destroy the family institution” does not meet the interests of Russia. In recent years. The Council specifically criticized Russia for decriminalizing domestic violence (against marriage or children). Russia does not fit their world image in any way, we will never accept Western values. Let them boil their own water. Without us,” repeated Petr Tolstoy.

Russia’s decision, whose official borders are not yet known, is an earthquake for the Strasbourg-based pan-European organization.

The separation of one member state from the Council of Europe has already happened: Greece, under the then dictatorship of the Colonels, withdrew from the Council in 1969 because the State (from 1967) blamed the coup. mass arrests and torture. Greece rejoined the Council at the end of 1974, following the collapse of the military dictatorship.

47 states are members of the Council of Europe, which was established in 1949 after the Second World War, especially under the leadership of Winston Churchill. Turkey has joined it since its establishment. Russia entered in 1996, following other states of the former Soviet bloc. The Council, whose mission is to protect democracy, the rule of law and human rights (especially through the ECHR) in Europe, later provided them with valuable assistance in helping them transition to democracy. Any State, by participating in the Council, undertakes to respect its fundamental principles: the prohibition of the death penalty, the holding of free elections, and respect for human rights and public liberties. But some governments resent the Council’s warning of their failures. For example, the United Kingdom threatened to leave the ECHR.

Russia was frequently criticized by the Council, and the delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly was suspended after the 2014 invasion of Crimea. Reinstated in 2019, upset Ukraine, which is also a Council member (since 1995). Borys Tarasyuk, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the Council of Europe, called for the expulsion of Russia. A former Ukrainian foreign minister took office in Strasbourg two years ago and has had no contact with his Russian counterpart since then, he told DNA last week.