Council of Europe

Two diagonally cut glass cylinders connected by a jumper, some induce allusions to the scales of Themis. Others, paying attention to glass walls, insist in their architectural interpretations on the idea of ​​transparency of the procedure. The machine of justice, the continuity of which is illustrated by the interior in the style of surrealistic techno, began to give obvious glitches. Citizens, especially those living far east of Strasbourg, quickly appreciated the full benefits of the proceedings with their own states. About a quarter of all calls are from Russia. Not more than 4-5% come to consideration, but even they wait in the wings sometimes for years. In idealistic times of its creation, the court could not even imagine how wide the circle of clients would be.

And the court was decided to reform. In particular, to give the opportunity to determine whether the case is suitable for consideration, not by the three judges, but by one. Facilitate the consideration of so-called “clone” cases. Complaints are often of the same type, say, from our Chechnya or Turkish Kurdistan. Or somewhere from the Voronezh region, where the subjects of non-payment of pensions also do not differ in variety. From the very beginning, Russia conscientiously and interestedly participated in the reform of the court. Together with all, she approved all the developed principles. But when it came to ratifying the document in the Duma, the case suddenly inexplicably stopped. What was initially explained by technical difficulties took on the form of an undoubted political challenge. “And it turned out somehow in our own way,” the Russian expert participating in the court figuratively explained, “Imagine: they built a house with the whole world, everybody disagrees in the evening, so that they can dwell in it the next morning, and, having gathered, they discover that someone he took it and, without any explanation, hung a huge padlock on the door. The Council of Europe was and remains in shock. And how, after that, should they treat us here? ”
 “In 1998, when we entered here, everything was clear,” one compatriot-official from the Council of Europe recalled, “We wanted to be Europe, we weren’t accepted because of Chechnya, and we agreed to take any obligations, to still join. And now everything is a little different … “

It is customary to chuckle over the Council of Europe a little: they say that it is useless in its resolutions and debates, if it can’t change anything anyway. Sometimes malignancy gives way to unkind annoyance: are we unreasonable children to constantly bother us with our monitoring and moralizing?

PACE resolutions, indeed, are sometimes tragicomic, like any storm in a glass of water. The irritation from the attention that Strasbourg turns to the unpredictable East is also clear. And in fact, what PACE would do if there weren’t Chechnya, our discussions with Georgia and Estonia – this, for the most part, seems to be absorbed in the conference room, lobby, and it’s the journalists from countries interested in these events who hunt for comments on this topic . And what, indeed, amusing great-heartedness are the declarations that there is no place for politics in the walls of the Council of Europe. Only human rights, for which the Council of Europe, in fact, was established at the time when Western Europe differed from Eastern Europe not only by the age of democracy. Then belonging to this club was considered a sign of almost civilizational involvement in the Clean West, which also had many problems with human rights, which the rigorists gathered here reminded relentlessly. Regardless, of course, on nationality. The club of idealists, united by the dream of new architecture and the rules of decency common to all, could not change the world, but, being a club, made membership in it a part of state prestige. And then, in a fit of the same idealism, the club opened the doors for those who agreed: the rules of conduct, which became indisputable long before they appeared here, are rigorous. They were also annoyed by the fact of monitoring the fulfillment of their obligations to which each newcomer is exposed. Including Russia, which at that time had not yet considered the issue of its involvement in Europe as a topic for political trade. The chronology of the changes surprisingly coincides with the dull schedule for the adoption of the 14th protocol. The annoyance became mutual.

Indeed, among other things, the Council of Europe has also turned into a club of the Biggest Payers, or, as they are called, “big boys” – England, Germany, France, Italy and Russia. And it turns out that Russia is not so much a European neophyte as one of the pillars of the Council of Europe, which it constantly recalls, threatening to reduce its contribution.

And this is a completely different Council of Europe and a completely different Assembly, especially if they refuse to elect Mikhail Margelov, head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Federation Council, as its chairman. They do not like Russia, but the question of what it does here is considered indecent in the club, and in general, they do not like scandals here. Initially, a tough analysis of the parliamentary elections eventually took the form of a resolution that understood our difficulties. The Council of Europe, from which we all the time deafly threaten to withdraw or at least reduce our contribution, in fact, very accurately describes the features of our Europe.

Of course, four times a year a week to feel like a European, presumably, even deputy Zyuganov likes it. But it’s not only that.

In addition to the noisy sensations, the Council of Europe, resting from time to time from the invasion of deputies, has a lot of things that are not written about in the newspapers at all. In everyday reality, the Council of Europe turns out to be a huge bureaucratic (in the literal sense of the word) structure engaged in the development of hundreds of normative acts, proposed for generalization by all its members. Say, the Pharmacopoeia is an institution at the entrance to which you will be met by countless various test tubes, and is engaged in the standardization of drugs. Or a project to help filmmakers – grants aren’t a big deal, but extremely prestigious. Deputies can swear on any occasion, officials are engaged in their work, and can always resolve any issue. But there is one more unexpected nuance. “You will not believe, but, say, Yuri Kalinin, who is responsible for correctional institutions in Russia, Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe is very important. You see, an official, even a Russian one, still sometimes also wants to work normally. And without pressure from the Council of Europe, Kalinin would never have managed to somehow get the situation in prisons off the ground. Though miserable, but something is changing. And so it is everywhere: there are a sufficient number of people, albeit not at the highest level, who enjoy everything that happens a little more than you do. And in court, and in medicine, and at school … “

This is the formula of our European choice. Not a very significant, but tangible part of people, including partially decision-makers who want normal European standards. On the other hand, the cozy city of Strasbourg, in which Russia, they say, already owns several not the worst mansions. And, of course, a platform where they do not elect Margelov as the chairman, but where you always hang a large padlock on some reform. In our opinion. But in Europe.

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