Senators speak at the PACE plenary session

The discussion was devoted to endorsing the credentials of the Russian delegation.

Federation Council members spoke at the PACE plenary session. The discussion was devoted to ratifying the credentials of the Russian delegation.

The decision to confirm Russia’s credentials was made by a majority vote. Earlier, the Lithuanian delegation tried to challenge the credentials of the Russian delegation.

Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building Alexander Bashkin dismissed as unfounded the arguments used by member of the Lithuanian delegation Emanuelis Zingeris. “The measures being taken by the Russian authorities are much appreciated by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. Hundreds of court decisions concerning complaints against Russia are being dismissed. Russia will continue implementing decisions of the ECHR and providing legislative prerequisites for dismissing reasons for complaints. Incidentally, in the past eight years the number of complaints has decreased by 3.5 times,” the Senator said.

Commenting on the reports that the contemplated amendments to the Russian legislation will allow Russia not to abide by international agreements, Mr Bashkin emphasised again that Article 15 of the Russian Constitution will remain unchanged.

He explained that the gist of the proposals is different. Russia is not going to fulfil the decisions of interstate bodies that contradict constitutional standards rather than agreements.” “Such practice exists in European countries and is justified because we have the right to interpret international agreements the way they were compiled during their signing,” Mr Bashkin added. Member of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building Irina Rukavishnikova specified that the Constitution will confirm legislative provisions that Russia has used for several years now. They concern decision-making by inter-state bodies that rely on the interpretation of international agreements, which contradicts the Constitution of Russia. A relevant decision is made by the Constitutional Court. Ms Rukavishnikova said that the consolidation of the principle of the division of power by introducing additional elements of the system of checks and balances in the work of government bodies is one of the most important changes. “The role of Russian parliament is increasing. Lawmakers acquire additional opportunities to influence the formation and resignation of the Government and the highest judicial bodies. The powers of the President are being restricted. In part, the law regulates the number of presidential terms. Judicial control is being introduced during the drafting of laws.”

Ms Rukavishnikova noted that similar provisions on the priority of national constitutions exist in a number of states that are members of the Council of Europe. She urged everyone to treat with respect the legal systems and constitutions of each state, attentively study the original sources and not to be guided by the subjective perception of non-professionals.