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Europe's highest human rights organization restores Russia's right to vote, an important step in removing penalties for a country accused of serious human rights violations.
Russia was cut off from its rights in 2014 after it annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. The seizure triggered international condemnation.
This week, the Council of Europe, a Strasbourg-based watchdog founded in 1949 to protect the rule of law and democracy on the continent, changed course. Parliamentary Assembly of Members of Legislators voted to restore Russia's voting rights 118-62, with 10 abstentions. The move gives Russia a greater expression of human rights issues, from budgets to management.
A new Russian delegation submitted its credentials on Tuesday morning.
The voice was praised by some leaders and activists who want Russia to be held accountable for human rights abuses. The Council oversees the European Court of Human Rights, which last year alone comprised 248 judgments in Russia. It found human rights violations in 238 judgments.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the result of the Assembly's voice "not a diplomatic victory in Moscow", but a "sense of common sense".
But other officials lamented Russia's reemergence on the negotiating table and claimed that it undermined democracy and represented an accumulation of Russia's land grab and warfare in Ukraine.
A delegation from Ukraine protested on Tuesday.
In a written statement, Ukrainian comedian-based President Volodymyr Zelenskiy erected the Ukrainian sailors who were captured last year near the Crimea and remained in Russian custody.
He said he was trying to convince French President Emmanuel Macron and German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel to assess Russia's compliance with the basic requirements of the Assembly, but "our European partners have not heard us and acted differently."
According to Kyiv Post, four out of 18 dep udies in the Russian delegation are under international sanctions because they supported Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Since 2017, Moscow had frozen its membership payments to the Council. Before the vote, Russia threatened to leave the organization if it was prevented from voting for a new Secretary-General on Wednesday. Germany and France launched a new compromise in May in an attempt to help Russia return to the Council.
Brookings Institution's fellow Alina Polyakova tells NPR that the congregation is voting with poor optics.
"The decision sends the message that it is back to Russia, although Moscow has done nothing to change its aggressive behavior," says Polyakova. "The idea is that it is better to have Russia in the Council because It gives some leverage. But it is a false assumption when Russia invaded Ukraine and committed many human rights crimes before it was a member. "
Nino Goguadze, a parliamentary member of Georgia, challenged the decision on Tuesday. At least 30 members of the Assembly supported his proposal according to a statement from the Council of Europe. people as they flew over war-torn eastern Ukraine.