Russia’s parliament to vote on suspending Moscow’s OSCE participation

By Thomson Reuters Feb 13, 2024 | 5:12 PM

(Reuters) – Russia’s parliament will vote on Feb. 21 on suspending the country’s participation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE), Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on Tuesday.

The OSCE, which counts Ukraine, the U.S. and Russia among its 57-members, is the successor to a Cold War-era organisation for Soviet and Western powers to engage. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the organisation has been largely paralysed by Moscow’s ongoing use of the effective veto each country has.

“It’s time for us to say goodbye to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly,” Volodin said at a meeting of the Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, according to a statement on the Duma’s website.

“The organization absolutely lacks independence, is politicized, and it dances to the tune of Washington. But the worst thing in this situation is that we also pay money, and we are one of the largest payers.”

Both chambers of the Russian parliament, the Duma and the Federation Council, will vote simultaneously on suspending participation and on stopping Moscow’s payments to the OSCE, Volodin said.

With the United Russia party – the ruling faction that supports President Vladimir Putin – holding an overwhelming majority in the parliament, the resolution is unlikely to face opposition.

The Duma may also consider the possibility of Russia leaving other international organisations, the Duma statement said, without naming any.

Ukraine and its Baltic allies, which are Russia’s neighbours, refused to attend the OSCE annual foreign ministers meeting late last year over the presence of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov there.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly and Oleksandr Kozhukhar; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Sonali Paul)