A resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) deprived Russia of voting rights and excluded the country from governing bodies of the organization until the end of the year, after Moscow refused to make concessions and cancel the referendum in the Crimea.
On April 10th, the Russian delegation left Strasbourg. In the near future, the Russian delegation may ask for a refund for this year's fee, the amount of which exceeds 22 million euros, vesti.ru report.
The money was supposed to finance the work of Russian parliamentarians, their participation in observer missions at elections. "If we do not participate fully in the work of the PACE, the spending is unreasonable," the newspaper quoted a source in the Russian delegation.
European parliamentarians, with 145 votes "for" 21 against and 22 abstentions, adopted the so-called soft option of sanctions against the Russian delegation. Proponents of tougher measures demanded Russia should be excluded from the PACE. At the same time, the soft version suggests the sanctions against the Russian delegation may be extended in January 2015. The Russian delegation claimed that the sanctions were unfair and abusive.
Reportedly, the State Duma and the Federation Council may consider Russia's further relations with the PACE this week. It is possible that the Russian delegation may suspend its participation in the work of the organization completely.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign