The Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs, Dmitry Rogozin, has sharply criticized the possible introduction by the European Union of the visa regime for Russians living in the Kaliningrad region, Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea.
While speaking, Tuesday, at a plenary meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the deputy of the lower house of parliament stressed that it would "be a fragrant violation of basic acts and conventions on freedoms and human rights." According to him, the EU's reluctance to resolve the Kaliningrad problem by means of negotiations proves that "a number of EU member-states are striving to infringe on Russia's sovereignty, to separate the Kaliningrad region from the Russian territory and to establish a precedent of depriving Russians of the major aspect of human rights - the freedom of movement." Dmitry Rogozin stressed that 1 million Russian citizens might find themselves isolated from their Motherland under the pretext of not letting illegal immigrants and people under investigation to Europe.
He urged European parliamentarians to demonstrate common sense and to unconditionally adhere to basic human rights and freedoms which PACE and the Council of Europe have defended over the past 50 years.
The final decision on the present heated debates will be taken by the PACE bureau on Friday, June 28. The Russian delegation, which initiated the consideration of the Kaliningrad problem at the summer PACE session, is confident that the PACE political and economic commissions will be instructed to prepare a corresponding report for the PACE autumn session.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969