The ECHR seems to constantly ruling against the current political regime in Russia, such as in the lawsuit by former Yukos shareholders. While Russia can obviously ignore any ruling they don't like as the ECHR lacks any enforcement mechanisms, I still don't understand why Russia is bothering to stay under its jurisdiction.

So why won't Russia leave the Council of Europe and absolve themselves of any responsibilities towards the ECHR?

Update: looks like they finally did, 5 years later

  • 2
    For those wondering, Russia is part of the European Broadcasting Area, so even if it left the Council of Europe, it would still be eligible for membership of the European Broadcasting Union, and therefore participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 14:04
  • 2
    The meta tag [status-completed] could be interesting to have on Politics. Commented Mar 15, 2022 at 17:40
  • Not shure, but looks like this question is not actual any more, as Russia has left the Council of Europe.
    – convert
    Commented Mar 15, 2022 at 20:40
  • And Russia is unable to participate in this year's Eurovision Song Contest. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 1:31

1 Answer 1


When Russia joined the Council of Europe in 1996, this was seen as a symbol of the democratisation of Russia and of its (new?) concern for Human Rights.

Reversely, leaving this institution today would be interpreted as a huge step backward toward autocracy and a very bad sign about Human Rights in Russia.

Note that while Russia has often protested when ECHR ruled against her, and is fiercely fighting any politics considered as intrusive into its internal affairs, including HR NGOs actions, it is still officially recognizing and enforcing Human Rights.

Adverse ruling by ECHR can be ignored as you pointed out. On the other hand, being part of the Council of Europe is also a way for Russia to occasionnaly point at other (western) european countries failures about Human Rights and embarass them, or to keep an eye on how Russian (or Russian speaking) minorities are dealt with in (eastern) Europe.

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    +1. TL;DR: It costs them nothing to stay, it costs them something to leave. Simple (political) mathematics.
    – tonysdg
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 15:35

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