The Russian lower house speaker has praised public diplomacy for de-escalating confrontation in international relations, and noted that more nations were understanding the uselessness of one-sided anti-Russian sanctions.
“In a world where unilateral sanctions policy becomes a dominating tool and in which the relations between nations start to fall apart, parliamentarians can help save some trust and connection between peoples,” State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said at the opening of the international parliamentary forum in Moscow on Monday.
“This is even more so as parliamentarians who represent the interests of their voters understand both the futility and lack of any perspective of the sanctions policy,” he added.
The Duma chief also called upon public representatives throughout the world to understand their roles in the restoration of justice and balance in international relations. He expressed hope that personal ties between politicians would help to quickly restore an atmosphere of “healthy pragmatism” across the globe.
The international forum called “Development of Parliamentarism,” which is chaired by Volodin, is taking place in Moscow on Monday and Tuesday. Around 500 lawmakers from 96 countries are taking part in the event, along with Russian and international experts and representatives of international parliamentary unions.
Russia has intensified work on public diplomacy and interparliamentary contacts since its conflict with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the PACE, which took place in 2014. The assembly stripped the Russian delegation of its voting rights and banned it from participating in the groups ruling bodies over the political crisis in Ukraine. Russia responded by stopping all activities with the assembly and by freezing annual payments that went to the PACE.
Eventually, Russian lawmakers and diplomats restarted work in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) – the worlds oldest parliamentary organization, with 176 member states. In late 2017, the Russian city of St. Petersburg hosted the IPUs 137th assembly, which was chaired by the head of the Russian upper house, Valentina Matviyenko.