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    29 jule

    Saving democracy

    Author: Yelena Sutormina, no comments

    So, PACE has restored Russia’s powers, five years later. Reason, cooperation principles and a sense of respect have at last prevailed at this major intergovernmental organization.

    During this period, the European political elite was putting various obstacles in Russia’s path in practically every aspect of life to punish it for responding to Crimean pleas and defending the right to self-determination that millions of people living on this peaceful peninsula have under fundamental international documents. In fact, Russia prevented a war there.

    They used every expedient to make Russia cave in, including economic and financial restrictions that were extended and intensified every six months, unending information assaults, incredibly filthy and false accusations and “news stories,” and purposeful attacks on persons who represented and defended Russia’s stance.

    All this while, Russia acted diplomatically and focused on its interests. Paradoxically, Russia was demonstrating a true European spirit, and this was possibly the greatest source of displeasure for the opposite side. The political elites in a number of states wanted to infuriate Russia and provoke an aggressive response, but they only achieved the opposite, with their plotting regularly backfiring.

    The Russian delegation heads – Vyacheslav Volodin (overall guidance), MPs Petr Tolstoy and Leonid Slutsky – presided over the last, most difficult stage, a three-day marathon preceding the final vote that returned Russia to PACE.

    For several days the PACE session was a scene of scandals and political blackmail on the part of Russophobic MPs from a number of states.

    There was a countless number of proposed amendments to official documents to be adopted by the session. Certain high-ranking officials were rude and made insulting remarks about the Russian delegation, Russian journalists who were just doing their work during the session, and Russia as a whole. Some delegations even walked out.

    But they made their choice. After all, PACE must defend the rights of every citizen living on this continent rather than indulge certain political ambitions. And this can only be done by common efforts to let the world see that we respect the rights of others. It should not be this way: We demand that you adhere to certain principles while we ignore them. Equality and respect are the main principles for individuals, groups of people, and organizations alike. No exceptions are allowed.

    So, we have made it through part of this difficult stage in PACE. Hopefully, this will set off a chain reaction of positive processes involving Russia and its citizens. Sanctions could be eased or phased out, since Europeans themselves have fallen victim to them.

    But, of course, there will be resistance. Yet, we will continue to act in a constructive and diplomatic way like true democrats and human beings.

    We will go on working. Now we have the full right to tell Europe about the human rights situation in Ukraine, about the policy to deprive hundreds of thousands of Russian speakers of their basic rights in the Baltic states, and other pressing issues affecting the interests of our compatriots and the rights of Russian nationals. We will be able to openly tell the truth to the world parliamentary community.

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