22 Sep 2017 16:12

Federation Council calls CoE Committee of Ministers' decision to look at Kirovles case interference in Russia's domestic affairs

MOSCOW. Sept 22 (Interfax) - Consideration of the Kirovles case involving opposition activist Alexei Navalny in the Council of Europe's (CoE) structures could signal an attempt to interfere in Russia's domestic affairs, Andrei Klimov, chairman of the Federation Council's Foreign Affairs Committee, said.

"We are observing at first hand an attempt to draw international institutions, which should have nothing to do with this in theory, into strictly Russian domestic political affairs," Klimov told Interfax on Friday.

On Thursday, the CoE Committee of Ministers asked Russia to provide additional information on the Kirovles case and decided to continue considering this issue at its next meeting in December.

"The schedule of consideration of this case, in my opinion, surprisingly coincides with the Russian political calendar and is being used by unscrupulous individuals to impose on Russian citizens, expressly or implicitly, their decisions regarding the formation of Russian authorities," he said. "Why won't they consider it in January or March? Apparently they want to consider it in December, before the announcement of political elections in Russia. And why do they consider the cases of certain citizens for a long time, and others promptly, even forwarding them to the highest authority, the CoE Committee of Ministers, for consideration?" Klimov said.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), a CoE institution which Russia is a part of, did not say the case was politically motivated, but representatives of the European Union's External Action Service claimed it was, Klimov said. The ECHR said that insufficient evidence was provided in the case, and Russia is cooperating with the ECHR.

"A representative of the European Union, who formally has no relation to the Council of Europe, is voicing concerns to us. They are trying to impose other authorities on us and using various mechanisms for it. There is a great danger, a temptation to try to use the ECHR as an instrument. I don't want to comment on Council of Europe decisions that aren't final, but I believe there is the temptation to make politically motivated decisions," Klimov said.

He recalled that after Russia was deprived of the right to vote in the Council of Europe, over 40% of judges at the ECHR were elected without the Russian side's participation, which "makes the temptation even stronger."