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Russian Oppositionist Urges PACE To Deprive Russia Of Vote

MOSCOW -- A leading Russian opposition politician has endorsed a proposal in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to deprive Russia of its voting rights in the organization, RFE/RL reports.

Mikhail Kasyanov, leader of the unregistered opposition Popular Democratic Union and former Russian prime minister, told RFE/RL he supports such a proposal because Russian authorities hinder the work of the Council of Europe.

He added that Russia has not complied with a PACE resolution related to its five-day war with Georgia in 2008 and refuses to abolish the death penalty by ratifying the related protocol. Kasyanov says that one should no longer turn a blind eye "to the specifics of Russian democracy."

Seventy-two PACE members have signed the proposal, which was initiated by Georgia earlier this month, that would suspend the powers of the Russian delegation in PACE. The proposal is due to be discussed at the autumn session starting on September 28.

Kasyanov was prime minister from 2000-04 when he was dismissed by then-President Vladimir Putin.