Boot Russia out of the Council of Europe!
Russia has only less than one-sixth the population of Europe, yet it has nearly one-third of all pending cases for human rights violations before the European Court for Human Rights, which is organized and maintained by the Council of Europe — of which Russia is a member. Russia has nearly three times more cases pending before the EHCR than any other nation, and Russia loses nine out of ten cases when it is prosecuted by the EHCR.
The Kremlin’s response to its horrific human rights record — as adjudicated by one of the world’s most respected courts — has been quite simple: It is moving to oust the court’s jurisdiction from Russia. That’s fine, in fact it’s probably rather unfair to expect a nation of corrupt baboons to allow themselves to be controlled by something like the rule of law.
But as former Russian parliamentarian Vladimir Ryzhkov argues in the Moscow Times, it means that Russia must be ousted from the Council of Europe, and the sooner the better. We call upon the COE to heed Ryzhkov’s words and move forward immediately in standing up for its core values and casting Russia out.
And we state what is obvious: If Russia had the slightest shred of national dignity or honor, it would simply resign.
Just days ago, Holland imposed sweeping sanctions on numerous high-level Kremlin officials because of their role in the brutal torture and murder of attorney Sergei Magnitsky. What this makes clear is that the rulings of the EHCR are not enough, that individual European nations are forced to take matters into their own hands.
And the Kremlin’s own actions make this equally clear. By moving to allow Russian courts to disregard the EHCR’s rulings, the Kremlin is taking the first steps towards a neo-Soviet cover-up of Russia’s atrocious human rights record. Instead of giving Russian citizens more legal rights and more respect, the Kremlin want to do just what they did in Soviet times, hide the facts and repress the population.
Russia cannot be allowed to behave in this manner and retain its membership int he COE. The organization must move immediately to oust Russia from membership, so that it cannot be used for propaganda purposes by the Putin regime to undercut domestic opposition. Ryzhkov speaks for that opposition, and they are saying clearly that it is time for the COE to act.
We join in this call. It is an abomination that Russia is allowed to parade itself before the COE pretending to be a civilized European nation when in fact Russia flouts every basic European value at every turn. The people of Europe should try to remember their dark history of appeasing evil, and remember the horrific consequences fo that policy. They should stand up an demand that Russia honor its COE membership or have it revoked, and they should do so without delay.