Russia’s return to PACE is bad news for the human rights situation in Russia – Nikolai Polozov

Participant of a solitary protest in Moscow demands Russia free the Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin. Photo: fb.com/olgizza.vishnevetskaya 

International, Op-ed

Article by: Nikolai Polozov

On 26 June, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted to lift all sanctions on the Russian delegation which were imposed on it after Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014. Russian lawyer Nikolai Polozov, who had defended Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin and currently coordinates the team of lawyers defending the rights of the 24 Ukrainian Navy sailor POWs seized by Russia after an attack in the Black Sea in November 2018, says this step, despite being justified by the desire to improve the human rights situation in Russia, will achieve exactly the opposite.

The Russian delegation’s return to PACE without fulfilling the obligations imposed by the resolutions of this organization, as well as the restoration of all the powers of the delegation, will lead to a result opposite of what the naive Europeans are counting on.

This will not lead to an improvement in the protection of the rights of Russian citizens (changes in the Federal Constitution Law “On the Constitutional Court,” allowing the Russian authorities to selectively implement the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, were adopted in 2015. And just in a few days, the Supreme Court is going to consider a similar resolution).

This will not strengthen Russian civil society. On the contrary, with the help of Kremlin grants, pseudo-human rights GONGOs will send dispatches of “human rights activists” to PACE. They, with shrieks and Komsomol enthusiasm in their eyes, will tell you how great things are with human rights in Russia, adding, however, a few vegetarian details about “local excesses” for plausibility.

This will only worsen the situation with political prisoners in Russia, both with Russian citizens and Ukrainian citizens alike. Including new hostage-taking, unjust sentences, harassment, and torture in prisons and colonies.

This will help the Russian authorities continue to corrupt and destroy the European establishment from the inside. Their main goal is to form a weak and compliant Europe which is not able to defend democratic values ​​and human rights. Onto which one can impose one’s own, obviously unfavorable conditions.

The main beneficiary of the transaction to return the Russian delegation to PACE are the Russian authorities, and not at all Russian citizens, as apologists for this shameful comeback argued from the podium.

The Europeans wanted so long and so badly to correct the Russian authorities, to change that notorious “Putin regime” and make it more humane, that they did not notice how they themselves changed at some point. And not for the better.

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