Moscow's failed steps in PACE

Losing internal legitimacy in Russia itself, the Putin regime, even returning not cheaply to PACE, could not strengthen its position in this organization.
Moscow's failed steps in PACE

This is a clear sign of the gradual degradation of the Russian ruling elite and its real loss of position in the international arena.

The resource potential of the Putin regime is rapidly depleted. This conclusion was reached by experts of one of the most respected forums on international security issues, which is held annually in February in Bavarian Munich.

The fury with which the protests by the security forces are being suppressed, the financing of which is being spent by more and more Russian budget funds, only emphasizes the depth of the crisis. If the increase in financing of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the FSB, the Russian Guard of the Russian Federation in 2020 amounted to almost 22 billion rubles, as well as investments in state propaganda grew by 13 billion rubles, then the needs of the population of Russia are ignored.

For example, spending on education was cut by 9.6 billion rubles, and on social support - reduced by 11 billion rubles. Who should live well in Russia? - The Putin regime gives a definite answer: to federal repressive bodies and propagandists, while the fate of ordinary Russian citizens is a secondary task.

Thousands of protests in Moscow in July-September 2019 underscored that the people were fed up with the "power of the Chekists" and dreamed of being freed from it and changes.
Moscow's failed steps in PACE

In response, the Russian masked security forces, just like the once masked terrorists who captured the Ukrainian Crimea. More than 2,700 people were arrested, and hundreds were beaten, simply for publicly expressing their political preferences. Against this background, as well as long economic stagnation, falling real incomes of the population and unpopular pension reform, Putin's rating over the past two months fell by 4%, and doubled between 2018 and 2020!

According to the «Levada Center» in February 2020, only 35% of Russians trusted Putin. People cease to be afraid, they do not want to further squander the people's resources in vain for wars in different parts of the world from Ukraine to Africa, while the Russian leadership has no better vision.

The Kremlin’s internal crisis is trying to somehow compensate for internal failures with “successes” in the international arena in order to testify to its viability.

But here failures are being watched too, which disguise themselves as being considered with Russia on the world stage.

A vivid and fresh illustration of this is the purchase by Moscow of the "return" of the Russian delegation to PACE.

Return of the aggressor, undermining the security architecture in Europe and spread chaos through the world, into a major European intergovernmental organization, indicates its further retracement of the values of a democratic society. The betrayal of the key statutory objectives of the Council of Europe did not happen for thirty pieces of silver, and 55 million euros is a kind of bribe for years of absence of the Russian delegation in PACE.

In Russia there is a debate, whether it was to give European bureaucrats 3.8 billion rubles in the form of "goodwill gesture" just so, if inside Russia critically important areas, primarily social programs are experiencing a shortage of funds.

Russian people will endure everything, as they say. After all, the matter concerns the external image of the ‘Putin regime’ .But here, the Russians waiting for one disorder, because the work is returning from the expulsion of the Russian delegation looks depressing. Literally pulling in at the second attempt of ultraroyalist Peter
Tolstoy to the position of one of the 18 Vice-presidents of PACE shows that within the organization there is very serious opposition to toxic Russia. Sensible PACE members are aware of that his election is a big reputational impact for all. First, for the reason that Tolstoy is committed cynically to legitimize the Russian occupation of the Crimea by the inclusion in the composition of the Russian delegation of Duma deputies elected on the Crimean territory. This is a direct violation of international law, documents, and decisions of PACE and goes against the very spirit of this organization. Second, this advocate supports the legalization of "LDNR" that actually seems nothing like the support of separatism. Thirdly, Tolstoy is known for his anti-Semitic statements, is not compatible with the values of the Council of Europe.

Moreover, after the completion of the PACE winter session Peter Tolstoy literally spat in the direction of the UN, Council of Europe and PACE, saying that Russia will never agree with such postulates, as an accessory of Crimea to Ukraine, the violation of LGBT rights in Russia and the implementation of ECHR judgments on claims of Russian citizens. This means that Moscow will perversely use the PACE just as a platform for propaganda, and nothing will be put into practice as part of the decisions concerning her.

And the point here is that even in spite of the blackmail and boycott of the Russian delegation to PACE has adopted a resolution directly obligating Moscow to implement the Minsk agreement to put an end to military intervention and to stop supporting illegal armed groups in the Donbas in any form.

Russia again received a slap in the face, that shows, that she was the aggressor, and legally obliged to stop the annexation of Crimea, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Moreover Russia is obliged to cooperate with the joint investigation team and the Dutch Prosecutor's office to prosecute the persons concerned to disaster Malaysian Boeing MH17 in Eastern Ukraine in 2014. The Kremlin also reminded again of human rights violations in Russia, as well as the rights of Crimean Tatars in the occupied Crimea. On the background of derogatory resolution very dubious "successes" of the Russian delegation in protecting their propagandists Sputnik from Estonia.

Despite the lobbying of Russian representatives in the Committee of Ministers and on the meetings of the PACE, they failed to convince the Europeans that "Sputnik" is the media, not the black channel that hosting the fakes and promoting a populist idea.

Moreover, some Russian diplomats recognize that Russia's return to PACE is not final, and there is still the risk of re exclusion of Russia from the organization. In particular, the Director of the Department of European cooperation Ministry of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Nikolai Kobrinets 12 Feb 2020 stated that "the Assembly is maintained until a part of the authority to limit the rights of national delegations. Although according to the CE regulations, such authority lies exclusively with the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. So, we can't be sure that Russian lawmakers again will not be discriminated against for their political views".
Moscow's failed steps in PACE

On 5 February, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the decision on creation of the tripartite process to respond to gross violations by States of their statutory obligations. It caused a frenzy of Russian representatives, because they thought that the Assembly will waive the sanctions procedures forever, but that did not happen. Out of the billions of rubles of Russian taxpayers still have not given Moscow a 100% guarantee on immutable positions in PACE and the chaos and the refusal to implement the decisions of the PACE may again remove from this pan-European platform.

On this trouble Russia is not over, and they are still waiting for new problems. Since Georgia is chairing PACE, you may 14-15 2020 in Tbilisi should pass a meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which are held once a year. The Russian delegation could simply not get to this event, in view of the fact that the Russian delegates may not be allowed into Georgia.

As is well known in Georgia adopted the Law "On occupied territories". It clearly stated that the visit to Abkhazia and South Ossetia without permission from official Tbilisi was illegal and punishable by a fine or even imprisonment up to 4 years. Georgia began discussing the fact that Russian invaders cannot be allowed to the meeting of the Committee of Ministers in Tbilisi, following the rules of the act.

Pavlo Shevchuk
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