OUR POSITION ON THE 25TH OF JUNE RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Dear President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Michele Nicoletti and delegates from all states,
We, the Young Conservative’s League from Lithuania, the Unity Youth Organisation from Latvia and the ResPublica from Estonia, wish to address a recent vote on the resolution “Strengthening the decision-making process of the Parliamentary Assembly concerning credentials and voting (Doc. 14900)" which was held on the 25th of June. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Later PACE) voted in favour of the aforementioned resolution which has enabled the Russian delegation to participate in the assembly. We, the EPP family youth organisations from the Baltic States, hereby condemn all participants who voted in favour of the resolution as well as congratulate those who voted against. In this letter we will present our main arguments to support our stance.
A number of Russian delegates have personal sanctions imposed by the European Union onto them which ban them from entering the EU. Today four persons (Igor Lebedev (Nr.114 in the list of Decision 2014/145), Leonid Kalashnikov (Nr.110 in the list of Decision 2014/145), Svetlana Zhurovna (Nr.116 in the list of Decision 2014/145) ir Leonid Slutsky (Nr.18 in the list of Decision 2014/145)) are as a result are now able to enter the EU as part of Russian delegation to PACE. Thus, we note with deep regret that these individuals can now exploit their position and bypass the restrictions, due to the fact that these sanctions can not block them from attending international organisations events.
We emphasize that sanctions which hindered Russian participation in PACE were imposed due to Russian aggression towards Ukraine. This aggression has not been halted and in addition we would like to highlight additional examples of how the Russian Federation is threatening the sovereignty of nations in the pan-European region.
A. We point out that as of now the Russian Federation has not fulfilled any PACE resolutions on Ukraine and has shown little interest to do so.
B. We remind that Russia is continuing it's support of militaristic actions in Eastern Ukraine in the ongoing war in Donbass which started in 2014. We additionally note that in year 2018 the Ukrainian Parliament passed a law declaring territories seized by the unrecognised “Donetsk People's Republic” and “Luhansk People's Republic” as temporarily occupied by Russia.
C. We are deeply disturbed by the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation which took place in 2014. We further note that in the same year the U.N. General Assembly passed a Resolution 68/262 that declared the Crimean referendum which was suppose to legitimise the annexation invalid.
D. We observe that Russia is freely partaking in aggressive banditism, for instance in the form of capturing Ukrainian navy ships in Kerch Strait after which Russia imprisoned the sailors of the aforementioned ships or the concluded Dutch investigation which found that “Malaysia Airlines” flight 17 was shot down by a Russian missile.
E. We draw attention to the recent report (June 14, 2019) of the European Commision and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy stating that protecting our democratic processes and institutions from disinformation is a major challenge for societies across the globe. Furthermore, many disinformation campaigns are produced by internal and external actors linked to Russia. This establishes certain Russian actors as a threat to not just democracy in Ukraine, but also in all pan-European region.
F. We are seriously concerned with the current events taking place in Sakartvelo, where today protests against a Russian lawmaker and member of the Communist Party, Sergei Gavrilov, acting as a Parliamentary Speaker in Tbilisi being allowed to chair the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAQ). This individual has backed the independence of breakaway regions in Sakartvelo which comprise 20% of the country’s territory. Accepting back the Russian delegation back to PACE, especially amidst these protests, is an awful gesture towards a country in which Russia has occupied 20% of their sovereign territory over the last 10 years.
We are convinced that rather than inviting back a country like Russian Federation who themselves have shown their disinterest in the issues of the assembly we ought to discuss what measures should we take that would protect the sovereignty of the independent states of Ukraine and Sakartvelo.
Thus, for all of the aforementioned reasons the Young Conservative’s League from Lithuania, the Unity Youth Organisation from Latvia and the ResPublica from Estonia, hold a strong position against accepting the Russian delegation back to participate in the assembly and condemns all assembly participants who voted in favour of this resolution. We believe that this is a disgraceful action enabling the aggressor that is Russia to promote their agenda on the international level. Though we must thank all those participants who voted against this resolution.
Chairman of the Young Conservatives League
Chairwoman of the Unity Youth Organisation
Chairwoman of the ResPublica