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How the head of PACE became Putin’s lackey

How the head of PACE became Putin’s lackey
Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

After visiting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad together with a delegation of Russian deputies, Pedro Agramunt, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), joined the war criminals.

Thursday, April 27,  the day the King of Spain Phillip VI visits PACE, will be the last day in a successful political career of the PACE head, the Spanish senator Pedro Agramunt. For Agramunt, the king’s visit should have been a demonstration of his own political influence, his ability of represent Spain at the highest international level.

But the visit that Agramunt prepared and initiated will take place in an atmosphere of his own personal shame. The head of PACE is preparing for early retirement. The need to accompany the king is the only reason why this retirement has been delayed.

When I first learned about the visit to Syria by the delegation of PACE deputies, headed by Agramunt, together with the delegation of Russian lawmakers, I could not understand it. Didn’t the Spanish parliamentarian understand the consequences of his trip? If Agramunt were an ordinary deputy, he could still get away with it. But Agramunt represents PACE.

This organization has imposed warranted sanctions on Russia, after which the Russian delegation completely refused to participate in the work of the assembly. The main task of the PACE head was to convince Moscow to continue to participate in the assembly’s work in the specified format and to take steps that could lead to the lifting of sanctions — in other words, to urge their president to get out of Crimea and the Donbas.

The fact that Russian deputies are not parliamentarians but Putin’s lackeys is not Agramunt’s problem. It is the problem of people who have long ago lost any remnants of human dignity and have become living printers.

But instead of presenting PACE’s position, Agramunt travelled to Syria with the Russians. Perhaps the Russians deceived him and said that this would be a secret visit. And perhaps Agramunt fooled himself. It is not that important. What is important is that he undermined the organization he was entrusted to lead.

The visit by the deputies was not just an ordinary visit by parliamentarians. In Damascus they met with Bashar al-Assad. After the Syrian bastard had murdered women and children with chemical weapons, Agramunt’s handshake with him was shocking.

Certainly most European governments do not recognize Assad’s legitimacy, and Agramunt had no right to shake this dirty hand without PACE’s authorization. But the meeting with Assad was only the beginning. The deputies “inspected” Aleppo, this Arab Stalingrad destroyed by Russians. They even visited the heart of the aggression — the Hmeymim airbase (Syrian airbase operated by Russians — Ed).

It is true that Agramunt was not taken everywhere. But he could not fail to notice that this was not a  trip for deputies. This was a trip for war criminals. How could he end up among them?

What is most noteworthy is that everyone understands how. The biggest problem is not kickbacks or tax cheating. To control them you simply must be willing to change the law. The biggest problem of the modern world is political corruption. This is frightening.

Political corruption in the West must be stopped no less decisively than corruption abuses in the countries of the “new Europe.” I would venture to say even more decisively. Abuses by officials in Ukraine or Romania are peanuts when compared to the readiness of serious Western politicians to support evil.

And until people in the West understand where the real problems lie, they will live from crisis to crisis, from Agramunt to Agramunt.  

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
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