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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Minority Protection

MOSCOW -- The Russian parliament ratified a European convention Friday to protect the rights of ethnic minorities.

Russia signed the convention in 1996 when it joined the Council of Europe, the continent's leading human rights organization, but the document needed formal ratification by the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.

"The convention will have a serious political impact," said Igor Ivanov, a deputy Russian foreign minister who presented the convention to the house. It passed by a vote of 314-2.

He argued that the document will allow the government to better protect the rights of ethnic Russians abroad, specifically in the Baltics.