Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko said that Russia would decide on its membership in the Council of Europe in June next year, unless "PACE charter was not fundamentally changed" and "a decision was made which allows all states to work on equal terms."
"This is a red line, beyond which Russia's presence in the Council of Europe becomes meaningless," she said on the Russia 24 channel.
"This is a bad scenario," the head of the upper house of the Russian parliament admitted. "This is not our scenario and not our choice," RIA Novosti cited her as saying. "We are put in such conditions when we can't allow them to humiliate our country," Matvienko stressed. "We cannot allow them to deprive deputies, elected by Russians, of their right to vote and so on," the chairman of the Federation Council added.
However, she noted that there is still “time for common sense to prevail”.
Director of the Institute of Strategic Planning and Forecasting, Professor Alexander Gusev, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Russia's exit from the Council of Europe is a possible step. "Russia may quit the organisation in June if there was no equality and Russia was not allowed to participate in elections within the Council of Europe. The exit is possible, but I think that we must avoid it," he noted.
Gusev stressed that the Council of Europe is the oldest European organization since 1949. “Our representation there is quite serious. Seven countries have the maximum quota, so we need to continue cooperation. Of course, we can break off all relations with the EU and the U.S., but it won't get better. We must look for ways, look for options, seek a compromise," the expert said, drawing attention to the fact that not all countries in the Council of Europe are taking an anti-Russian position. In his opinion, it is necessary to build a dialogue with these countries in the first place.
At the same time, Gusev noted that Russia's withdrawal from the Council of Europe would cause reputational damage to both the Russian Federation and the organization itself.