Russia withdrew from PACE in March 2022 because it doesn’t have any gay MPs, which is something mandatory for all member states. This false narrative was fostered by the chairman of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin. In fact, Russia withdrew because it was about to be excluded from PACE due to its invasion of Ukraine. The topic has been relaunched in the public sphere after PACE designated Russia a terrorist state.
NEWS: “The chairman of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin said the absence of homosexuals in the Russian Parliament was one of the reasons Russia withdrew from PACE. The statement was made on October 17 during parliamentary hearings. According to Volodin, the vice-chairman of the State Duma, Pyotr Tolstoy, received a form in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), according to which the lower and superior chambers of the Russian Parliament must send their own MPs who are representatives of the LGBT community to attend a joint session as a matter of urgency. We don’t have any such representatives, which is why we didn’t submit the form […].
Volodin said he got a number of notifications regarding the adoption of the law on the protection of traditional family values”.
NARRATIVE: Russia withdrew from PACE because it doesn’t have any gay MPs.
BACKGROUND: For many years, the Putin regime has been trying to depict Russia as a citadel under siege (a narrative addressing both foreign and domestic audiences), a space of traditional values and morality at odds with “Gayrope”, the embodiment of decadent values which tolerates and encourages both homosexuality and pedophilia. The West is allegedly behind an all-out assault meant to impose LGBT ideology in Russia.
The invasion of Ukraine has left Russia isolated at international level. The unwarranted and unprovoked attack against an independent state, the brutality of the Russian army and its war crimes, the shelling of civilian objectives and the swift executions, tortures and rapes, the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions have all been condemned not just by the West, which stood out as the most vocal supporter of Ukraine, but also by NGOs and international organizations specializing in the protection of human rights (the UN General Assembly, OSCE, PACE). Russia’s response to the wave of international criticism targeting its acts of aggression and crimes was to play the victim and come up with various excuses and justifications, many of which have been part of the Kremlin’s propaganda for years: Russia claims its values are under threat, that it is fighting Nazism, that the West has Russia surrounded, that it is the target of terrorist attacks, etc.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: In fact, the members of delegations represented in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe are not selected based on ethnic, racial or sexual criteria. PACE is an entity charged with protecting human rights and promoting diversity and tolerance. Delegations of PACE countries comprise members of national parliaments elected as part of free elections, and the Council of Europe cannot intervene or influence citizens in electing certain candidates to the detriment of others. Vyacheslav Volodin’s statement lacks any legal basis, and the non-representation of sexual minorities in Parliament does not represent a reason for withdrawing or being excluded from the Council of Europe. In fact, PACE decided to exclude the Russian Federation from the Council of Europe due to the latter’s invasion of Ukraine, and the resolution adopted stipulates that the Russian Federation committed grave violations of the Council of Europe statute incompatible with the status of a member state.
“In the common European home, there is no place for an aggressor. The Committee of Ministers should request the Russian Federation to withdraw from the Council of Europe. Should the Russian Federation not comply with the request, the Committee of Ministers should envisage the immediate possible date from which the Russian Federation would cease to be a member of the Council of Europe”, the PACE resolution reads.
Volodin claims Russia was not excluded, but it chose to withdraw from PACE. In fact, knowing the Russian delegation was about to be excluded, Moscow’s representative, Pyotr Tolstoy, submitted a letter well in advance, calling for Russia’s withdrawal from PACE. Therefore, Russia withdrew from the Council of Europe before being excluded. The Russian media made no mention about this, merely writing about the withdrawal of the Russian delegation. The truth about the decision is being withheld in order to control the narrative at home and to continue justifying the need for the “special military operation”.
It was not by accident that the narrative was redistributed now. On October 13, PACE designated Russia a terrorist state in the resolution titled “Further escalation in the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine”. 99 members of PACE voted the resolution and one abstained. Russian propaganda has been trying to tell the public that the resolution has no value and is not representative, claiming that Russia chose to withdraw from PACE.
Veridica has disproved a number of false narratives about the response of international organizations regarding the war in Ukraine. The Russian media wrote that the referendums on the annexation Russian-held territories in eastern and southern Ukraine observe the UN Charter, or that the UN and Turkey recognize Russia’s right to control Ukraine’s maritime ports.
According to other propaganda narratives, the OSCE was collaborating with the “Azov” battalion in Mariupol and was providing it with intelligence ever since the start of the conflict in Donbas, while the West is investigating the atrocities committed by Ukrainian nationalists on the territory of Ukraine.