Offener Brief: Die russische Delegation in der PVER
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Marija Pejcinovic Buric
Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Copy: Wojciech Sawicki
Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Copy: Heiko Maas
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany
Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
Copy: Jean-Yves Le Drian
Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic
22 January 2021
Dear Mr. President,
Dear Secretary General,
This week the Russian Federal Assembly selected its delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the 2021 session. As before, the delegation includes four members who are subject to EU sanctions: Leonid Kalashnikov, Igor Lebedev, Leonid Slutskiy, and Svetlana Zhurova.
As you know, obligations under the Council of Europe supersede national decisions, so France has previously waived sanctions to issue visas, and the Assembly has allowed the aforementioned Russian parliamentarians to participate in its sessions.
However, this goodwill should be subject to reciprocity that has not been demonstrated by the Russian Federation.
In 2018, the Russian Government denied entry to Emanuelis Zingeris, vice-chairperson of the PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, in his capacity as the Assembly’s rapporteur on shedding light on the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. Explaining its decision, the Russian Foreign Ministry indicated that Mr. Zingeris was denied entry because “our delegation has not participated in the work of the Assembly full-time since January 2016” and “visits by PACE rapporteurs to Russia are currently not being carried out”.
Following the reinstatement of the Russian delegation’s rights in the Assembly in June 2019, Member of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Boris Vishnevsky inquired to the Russian Foreign Ministry as to when Mr. Zingeris will be granted entry to the Russian Federation in his capacity as PACE rapporteur. In his response dated 13 May 2020, the director of the Ministry’s Second European Department, Sergey Belyaev, stated that Mr. Zingeris was now being prevented from entering Russia “as part of our response measures to the unfriendly actions of Vilnius that had prohibited a number of Russian lawmakers and officials from visiting Lithuania”.
Given the Russian Federation’s refusal to honour its Council of Europe obligations by denying entry to the PACE rapporteur on the grounds of national sanctions, we respectfully request that you reject the credentials of the Russian delegation as it includes individuals subject to EU sanctions and not allow it to participate in the upcoming session of the Assembly.
We are sending copies of this letter to the attention of the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic.
Gyde Jensen / Germany / ALDE
Michael Link / Germany / ALDE
Eerik-Niiles Kross / Estonia/ ALDE
Emanuelis Zingeris / Lithuania / ALDE
Oleksii Goncharenko / Ukraine / ES
Yelyzaveta Yasko / Ukraine / EPP
Konstantin Kuhle / Germany / ALDE
Christoph Hoffmann / Germany / ALDE
Lesia Zaburanna / Ukraine / ALDE
Yevheniya Kravchuk / Ukraine / ALDE
Frantisek Kopriva / Czech Republic / ALDE
Inese Libina-Egnere / Latvia / EPP
Mariia Mezantseva / Ukraine / EPP
Serhiy Vlasenko / Ukraine /EPP
Jennifer De Temmermann / France / ALDE
Marija Golubeva / Latvia / ALDE
Lesia Vasylenko / Ukraine / EPP
Yuliia Ovchynnykova / Ukraine / ALDE
Rustem Umerov / Ukraine / EPP