Russian elite grows tired of Putin – Russian opposition ex-MP Ponomarev
Russia has failed to fulfill 22 requirement set by the Council of Europe
Read the original text at radiosvoboda.org.
Guests of our program are Olena Sotnyk, Ukrainian MP, member of the permanent delegation to PACE and Ilya Ponomarev, a former deputy of the State Duma of Russia.
Russia, which left PACE through the implementation of sanctions against Putin's state must return to work of PACE. The president Pedro Ahramunt insists on it. As noted by Vice Speaker Iryna Herashchenko, that is the sequence of Mr. Ahramunt’s frequent trips to Moscow and chat "with Russian fascist regime." Thus, the PACE stands for dialogue with Putin's Russia at any price or not?
Pivot event today in PACE is speech of French President Francois Hollande. Some media claimed, quoting this statement that if the head of state "Norman Quartet" said from the PACE podium that, well, we must first hold elections in Donbas. Only after that Ukraine will receive control of the Ukrainian-Russian border.
Olena Sotnyk: He said something even worse.
He said that we need to provide some assurance of safety in this area, that to withdraw troops, not a single word was not about border control, to the political part, that is to hold elections in the area. And he actually completed implementation of the Minsk agreements.
Lithuanian colleague clearly asked him a question. Please tell me, Mr. Hollande, how do you see the result, which should be a concrete result of the Minsk agreements, and how do you see a solution to this Russian aggression towards Ukraine? Hollande could not give a clear answer.
Well, being an MP, could you comment on this speech, and the situation in PACE in general? Statements of Ahramunt are an attempt to "appease" the aggressor - Russia?
Olena Sotnyk: Absolutely. They hope that somehow they can euthanize the animal. But this is wholly unambiguous error.
Ahramunt’s visit to Moscow is an attempt to return Russia to the summit, to show that here we have 47 member states.
Moreover, there is always used the word "necessary dialogue." But none of these honorable gentlemen does not explain how they are going to be engaged in dialogue with the country, especially members of the Duma and representatives of Putin in the Duma.
Because today we have heard Ilya Yashin, a representative of the Russian opposition, who clearly said that in the Russian Duma every MP is dependent on Putin's regime. These are actually people of Kremlin that are carrying out the orders.
And the big question: if Putin has no intention to keep the dialogue, how these people are going to conduct this dialogue?
I think this situation has a weakness, no one wants to take responsibility, so attempts to shift responsibility for the issue of the conflict solely on the shoulders of Ukraine, the Ukrainian will have to decide what to do with aggression from Russia.
Do you as a member of the permanent delegation to PACE have some opportunities? Mr. Ariev spoke eloquently yesterday. The channels were on. Does someone in PACE listen to these arguments? They are obvious. It is recognized by all independent observers. Aggression continues, it does not stop in any day.
Olena Sotnyk: Actually, for example, yesterday there was meeting of political groups. I am part of a group of liberals. Basically, we discussed Russia and how to build the strategy, return or non-return dialogue. I had the opportunity to recalled everything that happened in the past three years, recall that Russia has failed to fulfill 22 requirement set by the Council of Europe.
We have today Syria. And a clear experience of dialogue with Russia. I invited the Europeans if they want to repeat the experience. Also recalled the investigation into the MH17, elections in occupied Crimea and other cynical disregard of Russia,
And I will tell you what I had heard.
My group took a unique solution: no talks about lifting sanctions or return of Russia to PACE.
Mr. Ponomarev, you have not been Russia's representative to PACE, but probably communicated with various deputies...
Ilya Ponomarev: To be honest, I preferred to dialogue with MEPs.
PACE is an old fifth wheel in a cart of European state. Unfortunate by-product of the integration processes. It does not take the real decisions.
Let us not confuse PACE and the EU. EU has 28 members. And Pace has 47. This is simply inter-parliamentary cooperation, human rights and so on. Why do you think the PACE is a fifth wheel?
Ilya Ponomarev: PACE is just a talking shop, a symbol. If Russian delegation returns, it will come to lifting sanctions. This sentiment indicator.
By the way, here is the opinion of the man you know personally, your former colleagues in the State Duma Alexei Pushkov. He is now head of the Russian delegation to PACE. When he heard this expression Mr. Ahramunt that, say, Russia still should return to continue the dialogue in PACE, he wrote in his Twitter: "Ahramunt officially called on Russia to return to the PACE. Our condition known: equal participation, any sanctions on our delegation."
So, judging by this post, Mr. Pushkov not just says that well, we come back, but he puts conditions?
Ilya Ponomarev: Mr. Pushkov has long lived in the zone of twilight, we should pay no attention to his statement. He is just a propagandist. TV journalist.
When something is said good about the Kremlin and Putin - Pushkov relays it.
Ilya Ponomarev: Yes. But such rhetoric is really rhetoric, which is accepted in Moscow. Unfortunately, when it is ground. That is not Mr. Hollande dictate terms, and only Kremlin says we are not going to go there.
Syria. Putin stepped up the bombing Aleppo. Why Putin needs it, in your opinion? After the elections in the US and Europe. Most likely, Sarkozy might win the elections in France. Merkel might fail in Germany. Why is he doing this? It is only worsening the situation.
Ilya Ponomarev: You know, sometimes you do not have to look for logic operations. It is possible that the actions are likely to emotions.
And I think that Putin is generally used to solve the situation by creating conflicts and crises, and getting out of these crises and conflicts. Because he believes that he has much more room to maneuver than the Europeans who depend on public opinion.
And, most likely, he wants to increase the degree before the election in the US. And after Clinton wins, he would find an opportunity to reach a compromise and withdraw to the positions that were prepared earlier, two years ago.
This tactic will be effective for Putin?
Ilya Ponomarev: Well, so far it works all the time. Minsk II shows it. It has been 1.5 years since the conclusion of these agreements; now it is absolutely clear that the main beneficiary is Russia.
German and French politicians, caught in their own trap, must repeat: Minsk agreement, Minsk deal, Minsk peace.
Is there an alternative to "Minsk?"
Ilya Ponomaryov: I always talked about how and when these agreements were adopted but that the key to solving the problem is in Ukraine. Ukraine has to manage the initiative in this matter.
It can be said that the weakness of the West, primarily in Europe, is false. After all, Russia is nuclear state. Here is the opinion of former Foreign Minister of Ukraine Leonid Kozhara. He said that in fact Mr. Ahramunt, head of PACE, and other Western leaders are acting right, trying to participate in dialogue with Russia.
Leonid Kozhara: Ahramunt is a powerful political lobby rather that exists in PACE on the part of some countries and by some political parties and factions that are represented today in the Parliamentary Assembly.
In terms of the logic of any negotiations it would be better to have all interested parties and discuss with them than without such parties.If we want to resolve some issues through the Council of Europe, it is desirable, of course, that some Russian representative was there.
What do you think, Mr. Ponomarev, in response to such allegations?
Ilya Ponomarev: I think that Europe and the West suffer from "Stockholm Syndrome," which is the effect of the hostage that we should negotiate with those you in this hostage taking, so he looks strong.
I do not think that Putin is really strong, but he had no brakes in his head. It is like you meet a bully on the street.
Any questions of direct financial interest of the Council of Europe. It is funded by leftover principle, Russia is indeed a big donor.
And the mood especially in the European business environment is that is profitable for Russia, but nobody associates with Ukraine. Ukraine means a competitiveness factor, and Russia is a direct income. And they, of course, put pressure on their politicians, business presses on the parties, the same did the European People's Party, the CDU / CSU in Germany, the unions put pressure on the Socialists and Putin and Russia are likely to counterbalance the imperialism.
If you analyze the economic situation in Russia, it is quite pessimistic. It just does not have money. Russia cuts defense spending, for example.
Ilya Ponomarev: Overall, Russia does not reduce the defense budget, it even increases it. It is far from the fall, the world needs natural resources, so Russian economy will not collapse yet.
Nobody knew in 1939 where Hitler would be in 1945. But I think this time is near. I do not think we need to wait for 10 years.
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