On Monday, Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin said the Russian delegation would not participate in the upcoming winter PACE session nor would it present its PACE credentials. The following day, PACE head Anne Brasseur announced that the Russian delegation would not be able to participate in any kind of PACE work in 2016 as it had not presented all the necessary documents.
"This year's non-participation in PACE [work]…does not mean the cessation of our contacts with the Council of Europe," Alexei Pushkov told reporters.
Russia is still represented in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe at an ambassadorial level and the Russian mission in Strasbourg continues its work as well, he emphasized.
"I am sure that Russia's foreign minister will take part in the relevant activities of the Council of Europe, as he did in 2015," Pushkov noted.
"It only refers to the suspension of our work in PACE due to the fact that the Assembly is not ready to lift the sanctions against the Russian delegation," Pushkov concluded.
An April 2014 PACE resolution deprived the Russian delegation of its voting rights, following Crimea’s joining Russia. Russian lawmakers were barred from participating in PACE's three key bodies — its bureau, its presidential committee and the standing committee.
The 2014 resolution curbing Russia’s rights in PACE was extended in April 2015, whereas a reconfirmation of the delegation's credentials was scheduled for the winter session.