The Russian Government’s blacklisting and banning from entry into Russia of certain European politicians have prompted the European Parliament’s president Martin Schulz to retaliate in kind, announcing that Moscow’s envoy to Brussels was no longer welcome at the assembly and Russian lawmakers would be vetted before being allowed in.
This decision raises, however, some questions not only with regard to its legal basis (is it really for the Parliament’s President to make and announce such decisions single-handedly, as if the Parliament were his private property??) but also with regard to its political wisdom. There is reason to believe that currently there are not too many Russian politicians who want to visit the EP – and those wishing to do so are probably the ones who, despite political pressure from the Russian government, are still seeking to maintain a channel for dialogue.
With his imperious (not to mention illegal) actions against Russia, Schulz has also alienated many MEPs who themselves are major critics of Putin. He did so by behaving in his usual autocratic way and taking decisions for which he has no authority according to the EP Rules of Procedure he was elected to uphold. Ironically, by using what one MEP calls ‘neo-bolshevik methods’, Schulz evidences how alike he is to Putin in behaviour and mentality, while claiming to oppose him.