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Russia says not on PACE 'democracy blacklist'

STRASBOURG, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has denied media reports that the organization has included Russia on a 'democracy blacklist.'

"No one has tied Russia to the whipping post, and no more criticism has been hurled at us than at any other country," said Mikhail Margelov, the PACE deputy speaker and the chairman of the upper house of the Russian parliament's international affairs committee.

"The debate on the state of democracy in Europe...showed that the entire list of nation-members could be included on a blacklist - the 100% democracy dreamed of by human rights activists does not exist anywhere," he said.

A senior Russian delegate, Leonid Slutsky, also denied the reports, telling RIA Novosti that, "As for the so-called 'blacklists' reported by certain sections of the Russian media, the report on democracy in Europe and the approval of a resolution as a result of the discussion does not contain any such lists."

"The articles in the resolution that criticize Russia cannot be called 'blacklists,' by any stretch of the imagination" he added.

PACE will also release an interim report on Russia later on Thursday, a source in the Assembly said.

The agenda for the PACE summer session on June 23-27 includes a large number of issues, such as Kosovo, Georgia's elections, and recent poll protests in Armenia.