The vote on the issue of Armenian captives in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has been in the public sphere for days. The issue of Armenian prisoners of war was put to a separate vote through the mediation of the representative of Azerbaijan Samad Seyidov. Five Russian parliamentarians voted against the issue being included in the agenda, and seven abstained. In the end, the issue was included in the agenda of the PACE plenary session.
Russian State Duma deputy Sergei Pakhomov justified his and his colleagues’ vote with the reasoning of technical problems, “During the voting on this issue, the whole delegation registered a technical failure. We do not believe in coincidences either. We have submitted a corresponding application.”
Pakhomov’s words were considered by many in Armenia as an unsuccessful attempt to justify themselves, and that the result of the voting was a consequence of the Azerbaijani lobby.
Media.am tried to understand who the deputies who voted against the issue of prisoners of war were and how justified the claim that they were affiliated with the Azerbaijani authorities was.
Deputies who voted against the inclusion of prisoners of war on the PACE agenda
Irina Rodnina’s vote should not have been a surprise. The deputy has previously expressed herself in non-Armenian initiatives. Two years ago, she visited Baku and took part in a march dedicated to the events in Khojaly, and during the interview she blamed the Armenians for the crime, noting that people in Russia know almost nothing about the Khojaly tragedy. She also met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
After these announcements, by the decision of the Yerevan Council, “Irina Rodnina Figure Skating School” was renamed “Yerevan Figure Skating and Hockey Sports School.” Rodnina, in turn, responded, “Let them do what they want, it’s their business. As you call the ship, so will the navigation be called.”
Aleynikov’s relations with Azerbaijan can also be considered good-neighborly. He was born in Mingechaur, Azerbaijan. Aleynikov actively participated and is participating in initiatives aimed at the interests of Azerbaijan. He is included in the group of parliamentarians with relations with the Republic of Azerbaijan. In 2012, he organized and participated in the “Russia and Azerbaijan: 200 years together” round table discussion.
Aleynikov’s name, by the way, is also connected with corruption. In 2017, the news of his two apartments acquired in Bulgaria was spread.
Leonid Slutsky, a member of the State Duma and chairman of the parliamentary committee on international affairs, has close relations with the Azerbaijani side. During his visit to Azerbaijan in 2016, Aliyev personally received him.
According to the President of Azerbaijan, Slutsky has visited Azerbaijan many times, and his activity as the chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots has served the development of inter-parliamentary cooperation in the CIS.
In 2015, after the third joint sitting of the RA NA Standing Committee on Foreign Relations and the Russian State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots, Slutsky also said that Azerbaijan pays large sums for armaments and Armenia receives weapons on completely different terms.
Sergey Pakhomov, Nikolai Rizhak
We could not find any information about MPs Pakhamov and Rizhak’s affiliation or close relations with the Azerbaijani authorities. In their public speeches, the latter, as a rule, expressed an impartial and neutral position on the Karabakh conflict. Let us just mention that Pakhamov has a reputation as a corrupt official in Russia. During his long political career, his name has been repeatedly associated with a number of instances of corruption and abuses.