Sergei Mironov, speaker of the Federation Council (upper house of the Russian parliament), thinks life imprisonment without the right of pardon is an "acceptable alternative" to the death penalty in Russia. He was speaking at a news conference in RIA Novosti upon his return from Strasbourg where he attended a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The session discussed Russia's implementation of the obligations it assumed when entering the Council of Europe, in particular concerning a moratorium on the death penalty. If we guarantee "inevitability" of punishment, Mironov noted, life imprisonment will be an acceptable alternative to the death penalty "to eradicate such an evil" as crime. Mironov recalled that Russia's moratorium on the death penalty was introduced by a presidential decree. When this moratorium is institutionalised, all of Russia's charter obligations to the Council of Europe will be fulfilled, he said. The speaker of the Federation Council came out in support of granting Belarus's application to join the Council of Europe. "Freezing the question is a mistake," Mironov believes. According to him, in order that democratic human rights are observed in Belarus, it should get the status of a Council of Europe country. "And it is my belief that this status will be obtained by Belarus in the near future", Mironov said.