Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s reply to a Rossiya Segodnya question regarding the fact that the Council of Europe has not responded to the March 22, 2024 terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall

Submitted on Mon, 04/01/2024 - 15:19

Question: While casting itself as Europe’s oldest human rights organisation, the Council of Europe has yet to express its condolences to Russia regarding the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack. How can you explain Strasbourg’s position on this matter?

Maria Zakharova: The tragedy at the Crocus City Hall concert complex came as a shock for the entire world. State leaders and senior officials from international organisations, members of the diplomatic corps, as well as people from many countries firmly condemned this monstrous terrorist attack while sending Russia their condolences and support.

Considering the solidarity expressed by the international community, the openly cynical indifference displayed by senior officials from the Council of Europe (CoE) is striking. I am talking primarily about CoE Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić, who is from Croatia, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education and Sport of Liechtenstein Dominique Hasler, who currently presides the CoE Committee of Ministers. They have yet to express their official position regarding the tragic events which happened in the Moscow Region on March 22, 2024. On that day, they were in Kiev, and were probably too afraid to cause misgivings to the host. By acting this way, they wrote yet another shameful page into the annals of their organisation with its futile attempts to position itself as the conscience of Europe and aspirations to act as the main human rights defender across the continent.

To be fair, we must note that CoE Parliamentary Assembly President Theodoros Roussopoulos did post a message on X, (Twitter) to condemn the terrorist attack and express his “condolences to the victims and their families.”

By acting this way, Strasbourg once again demonstrated how deeply degraded the Council of Europe has become today, mired as it is in political hypocrisy and double standards. Our country does not need any assistance from this structure. We were the ones who ended our relationship more than two years ago. Still, the fact that it failed to take a principled stand on a barbaric act of terror targeting civilians does raise some legitimate concerns for questioning the ability of the CoE leadership to contribute to international stability, countering terrorism, extremism and other challenges we face in today’s world, as well as defending human rights. This also calls into question the impartiality and relevance of the CoE’s specialised legal and expert capabilities.

At the same time, we must note that Russian diplomats in Strasbourg received so many personal messages of condolences showing that people in France and members of the diplomatic corps in Strasbourg do care about what happened.