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“Vladimir Putin's regime has declared war on its own people”: PACE refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the Russian president

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has published a resolution stating that it does not recognize Vladimir Putin as president of the Russian Federation. The body, based in Strasbourg, France, calls on its member and observer states, as well as the European Union, to cease all contact with Putin “except for humanitarian purposes and the pursuit of peace.”

Titled “Alexei Navalny's death and the need to counter Vladimir Putin's totalitarian regime and its war on democracy,” the resolution reads:

“In line with its Resolution 2519 (2023), the Assembly does not recognise the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin as the President of the Russian Federation and reiterates its call on Council of Europe member and observer States and the European Union to cease all contact with him, except for humanitarian purposes and in the pursuit of peace. The Assembly recalls that the abolition of presidential term limits for the benefit of Vladimir Putin violates not only the Russian Constitution but also well-established international legal principles.”

Point 7 of the resolution says that PACE deplores the fact that “acts of torture” of the kind suffered by Alexei Navalny are “systemically applied against political prisoners in the Russian Federation, Ukrainian political prisoners illegally detained in Russian prisons since 2014 and Ukrainian prisoners of war.”

Point 17 also notes that Vladimir Putin's regime “has declared war on its own people”:

“As the Russian Federation is a federation only formally, the regime of Vladimir Putin has also declared war on its own people. In particular, indigenous peoples, national and ethnic minorities in the Russian Federation are forcibly russified and subjected to repression and discrimination, in violation of the Russian Federation’s obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In particular, the Assembly notes the disproportionately high losses suffered by military units composed of soldiers conscripted from national, ethnic and indigenous populations. The Assembly considers this to be a deliberate campaign, aimed at eliminating national and ethnic diversity within the Russian Federation.”

In addition, PACE calls for stronger sanctions against Russia to “hinder its economy from continuing to finance its illegal war of aggression.” The Council also praised Yulia Navalnaya's proposal to fight against “the enablers of Vladimir Putin’s criminal regime” by using the sorts of legal instruments often deployed against organized crime groups: investigating their financial machinations, “searching for their associates, lawyers, and financiers in Council of Europe member states and beyond, in order to prevent the regime from hiding behind corporate veils and a network of shell companies.”

The Assembly also calls for “Council of Europe member and observer States and the European Union to recognise that the Russian Orthodox Church is in fact being used as an instrument of Russian influence and propaganda by the Kremlin regime and has nothing to do with the freedom of religion and the freedom of expression.”

In a resolution passed in Oct. 2023, PACE determined that it would recognize Putin as illegitimate after the end of his current presidential term, which is set to end on May 7.

PACE is one of two statutory bodies of the Council of Europe — an international organization with the stated goal of upholding democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Europe. It is distinct from the European Union and is an official United Nations Observer.

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