Last chance for Kremlin: Will Russia return to PACE?Volodymyr Ohryzko
The latest developments in the Council of Europe around the issue of returning a Russian delegation to the CoE Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) actually appears rather concerning.
This is the last chance for the Kremlin lobbyists to ensure Russia's comeback to the Assembly. Indeed, it's the last one because this summer will mark two years since Russia has stopped paying its membership fees to the Council of Europe budget. And this means that an issue could formally be raised of excluding the Russian Federation from this organization's ranks. And I think that some member states, including Ukraine, will certainly be happy to submit the issue for consideration.
Therefore, today, the Kremlin lobby has the last chance to change the rules of the Council of Europe, and thus avoid such developments as raising the question about Russia's expulsion, and do even more - to ensure the return the Russian delegation to the PACE without any negative consequences.
Why is this happening? That's because, unfortunately, money still does buy values. In Europe, there are still politicians (mostly "leftists") who continue to see Russia as partner under any circumstances.
Due to bribery and dependence of certain politicians, Russia is still able to at least maintain some balance
But these circumstances suggest that, most likely, it is a question of the banal dependence of these European politicians on the Kremlin. This is no secret that many politicians in Europe, in particular, in France, Austria and Germany, really are dependent on Russia.
The latest case is that German law enforcers launched an unprecedented, as I believe, probe – they began to investigate the links of one of the Bundestag MPs with Russia and his direct dependence on the Kremlin.
So there is an eternal struggle ongoing of money and principles. In this case, due to bribery and dependence of certain politicians, Russia is still able to at least maintain some balance.
Ultimately, it's hard to say what's going to happen. I still hope that such a brutal and brazen attack, which could lead to the return of the Russian delegation, will see no success. But to argue that Russia's return to PACE will not happen at all is unfortunately impossible today.
However, the question arises of what should Ukraine do if Russia actually returns to PACE. Various options are on the table, including the possibility of Ukraine's withdrawal from the organization. I believe Ukraine needs to voice its position sharply: it's "either..., or ..."
The thing is that if Russia succeeds in its comeback, we have nothing to lose. If, after all of the atrocities committed by Russia, we will forgive Moscow, then we will also be treated appropriately.
Volodymyr Ohryzko is a Ukrainian diplomat, head of Russia Research Center, ex-minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine