Council of Europe blames Russian state for death of Alexey Navalny

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has unanimously adopted a resolution blaming the Russian state for the death in prison of opposition politician Alexey Navalny and restating its belief that Vladimir Putin is an illegitimate president.

The resolution, which was approved in Strasbourg on Wednesday, outlined how Navalny had been subjected to torture and inhumane, degrading treatment prior to his death in a prison camp in Russia’s Arctic Circle in February, and detailed his earlier survival of an FSB attempt to assassinate him using the nerve agent Novichok in August 2020.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. 

Putin, the resolution read, had effectively turned Russia into a dictatorship, and the presidential election held in March had been neither free nor fair. It described Putin as being at war not just with Ukraine but with his own people.

Putin’s most egregious offences since 2000, according to the resolution, included the occupation of Transnistria, the invasion of Georgia, the war in Ukraine, the crushing of free expression, the disinformation war being waged around the world, the persecution and assassination of political opponents and “the creation of a system of legislation that criminalises political views”.

The resolution also touched on the sensitive subject of Russia’s indigenous peoples, accusing Moscow of subjecting them to forced Russification and urging the “decolonisation of the Russian Federation”, which it called a “necessary condition for the establishment of democracy”.

In October, the Council of Europe adopted a resolution urging the international community “to recognise Vladimir Putin as illegitimate after the end of his current presidential term and to cease all contact with him, except for humanitarian contact and in the pursuit of peace”.

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