At its September 26 session in Strassburg the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decided to recommend Ukraine for full membership of the CE. Western and other, particularly Baltic, participants praised Ukraine’s efforts toward adopting a democratic constitution, reforming the economy, confirming Crimea’s special status, and ridding itself of nuclear weapons. Russian parliamentarians withheld praise but refrained from challenging the general consensus. Russian delegation co-leaders Vladimir Lukin and Vadim Podoprigora said that the delegation supported Ukraine’s candidacy as a "Slavic state" with a "40 percent" ethnic Russian population (correct figure: 22 percent). The November session of the CE’s Council of Ministers is now highly likely to officially admit Ukraine as a full CE member. Within one year of its admission Ukraine will have to ratify the European Convention on Human Rights and the CE’s framework convention on national minority rights, and to accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. (13)
Ukraine is thus set to become the second CIS member state, after Moldova, admitted to full membership of the CE. The two countries’ advance over Russia has irritated political circles in Moscow. Lukin for example recently urged Boris Yeltsin publicly to withdraw Russia’s candidacy for full CE membership because of its "humiliating" treatment. The Assembly’s September 26 session voted to resume consideration of Russia’s application (suspended after the military intervention in Chechnya) but set no date for doing so. Human rights campaigner Sergei Kovalev urged the Assembly to accept Russia’s application as "Russia risks taking the Asian path where the citizen is just an insignificant cog in the state machine."
Russian Naval Commander Hopes Next Duma Will Save Black Sea Fleet.