Russia's return to PACE will not change Moscow's policy, but CoE will be different – Kuleba
Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe Dmytro Kuleba believes that if Russia returns to the PACE, Moscow's policy will remain unchanged.
"In the event of an unconditional return of Russia to the PACE, Moscow's policy will not change, but the Council of Europe will be different. If it forgives Russia's violations, it will lose the right to criticize other countries. If the assembly, for the sake of Moscow, deprives itself of the right to impose sanctions, it will lose an instrument of influence on all other 46 capitals," Kuleba wrote in an article for Ukraine's Mirror Weekly published on Saturday, January 20.
At the same time, he said there was a positive moment: "There is also a positive thing. If all this happens, the Council of Europe will get its money, which, however, it should have obtained by law."
Kuleba declined to predict how long it will be possible to restrain the desire of "the powerful" to restore a full dialogue with Russia in the assembly.
"Every new attempt to do this is more powerful than the previous one. The year 2018 will definitely not be an easy walk. Everyone will have to make their choice," he said, said that "through titanic efforts it was possible to foil an attempt to create conditions for the return of Russians in January 2018."
According to him, Russia must pay the price for its return to the assembly, and the price formula lies in PACE resolutions.
"Of course, even if Moscow agrees to pay, it will try to buy off with what it has to do without any conditions and bargaining, for example, to let the human rights commissioner into illegally occupied Crimea." Allowing such an 'exchange' would mean handing over the organization without a fight. The outcome of the crisis created by the Russian side now depends on the principled position by the leadership of the Council of Europe and the key capitals of its member states," Kuleba said.
Earlier, Kuleba reported that Ukraine and its partners had managed to stop the return of the Russian delegation to PACE: "Russia remains at home. PACE will work without it in 2018. Ukraine mobilized partners and managed to stop a powerful attempt to kill the institutional authority of the Council of Europe for the sake of Russians."
The Russian delegation was deprived of its voting rights in PACE in 2014.