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Russian Duma Head Lashes Out At Former PACE President

The speaker of the Russian State Duma has said the last two years, during which Luxembourg lawmaker Anne Brasseur was president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), "discredited" that institution.

Sergei Naryshkin made the comment in an interview with Russian state television on January 30.

He called Brasseur's tenure "a very discredited time in the history" of PACE and the Council of Europe. He also attributed to Brasseur a "personal role" in the worsening of relations between PACE and Moscow.

PACE, which is the parliamentary organ of the 47-member Council of Europe, voted in 2014 to strip the Russian delegation of its voting rights because of Moscow's annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and its political and military support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

PACE also suspended Russia's right to participate in Council of Europe governing bodies and election-monitoring missions.

As a result, the Russian delegation walked out of the assembly and has not participated in PACE activities since.

Naryshkin and Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko recently told PACE the Russian delegation would be ready to return "if the rights of national delegations are observed." Brasseur responded that the sanctions against Russia will remain in place at least until after Russia's legislative elections in September.

Brasseur's term as PACE president ended earlier this month, and she has been succeeded by Spanish lawmaker Pedro Agramunt.

Based on reporting by Vesti and Interfax

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