Exchange of expulsions: how the expulsion of diplomats will affect relations between the Russian Federation and Slovakia

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Russian diplomats, who were declared persona non grata in Slovakia, left the country… According to the Russian Embassy in the republic, they flew home on a special flight from Budapest… Bratislava accused them of allegedly working for the Russian special services and thereby “violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.” Moscow has already promised to give a mirror answer. At the same time, as the Federation Council told Izvestia, this episode in principle will not worsen relations between Russia and Slovakia.

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Fall line

Russia will not ignore the unfriendly steps of Slovakia to expel Russian diplomats. As reported on Smolenskaya Square, “traditionally there will be a mirror response” – that is, in all likelihood, three employees of the Slovak embassy will also have to leave Russia.

Such situations leave a very unpleasant aftertaste, ”Vladimir Dzhabarov, First Deputy Head of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, told Izvestia. – We understand that the Slovak special services are not entirely free to do what they want. Most likely, it was on a tip from the Americans.who feel very at ease in all NATO countries. There will be retaliatory measures, and this is a common practice. This, of course, does not add to the positive, but I do not think that our relationship will be greatly affected by this.

According to him, it will take a little time for the situation to calm down. Russia does not have many unpleasant facts in its bilateral relations with Slovakia. Therefore, we can continue to calmly develop bilateral contacts, summed up Vladimir Dzhabarov.

At the same time in the expert community drew attention: the concentration of mutual unfriendly actions has recently reached high rates and suggests that relations between countries are gradually weakening.

“There is a depressing impression that the mutual expulsion of diplomats and the destruction of monuments, as well as the clarification of relations in other ways, including domestic policy, has become a line of our relations recently,” the head of the Central and Eastern Europe Research Department at the Institute of Europe shared with Izvestia RAS Lyubov Shishelina.

The expert drew attention to the fact that since the 1990s, Russia has not yet adopted any new concept of relations with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Besides, There are significantly more Russian diplomats in Slovakia and the Czech Republic than there are representatives of these countries in the Russian Federation: if we continue to carry out mutual expulsions, then very few Slovak and Czech diplomats will remain in Moscow… Of course, business projects between our countries are developing, but interpersonal contacts are becoming weaker, and this does not contribute to the strengthening of bilateral relations, Lyubov Shishelina summed up.

Spy question

On August 10, it became known that three Russian diplomats would be expelled from Slovakia due to suspicions of espionage. Employees of the diplomatic mission, whose names are not disclosed, left the country with their families on August 11… According to the country’s Foreign Ministry, their activities allegedly “violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations”… As reported by Aktuality, citing sources, the holders of the diplomatic passports allegedly worked for the Russian special services.

According to media reports, the Slovak authorities suspect the Russians of involvement in the murder in Berlin of a Georgian citizen, a native of Chechnya, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, who was shot dead in August 2019 on his way to a mosque. At the same time, the Berlin prosecutor’s office announced the arrest of the suspect, a 49-year-old citizen of the Russian Federation. The Russian side has repeatedly denied its involvement in the incident.

In early December, the German authorities expelled from the country two employees of the Russian embassy… This was due to the fact that, according to Berlin, Moscow “did not cooperate enough” in the investigation of the murder. A mirror response was made to this: two diplomats of the FRG embassy were expelled from Moscow.

There are times when you need to draw a restrictive line for your friends. Yes, the Russians are our Slavic brothers, and Russia is our trading partner. However, this does not change the fact that Slovakia is a sovereign state.not a banana republic where diplomatic rules can be ridiculed – the Prime Minister of Slovakia Igor Matovic wrote on his Facebook.

The decision of the Slovak authorities was approved in the United States. As she wrote in her Twitter State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus, “States applaud Slovakia’s recent actions to defend against the threats that foreign attackers pose to its sovereignty. “

– The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia has given a clear signal that it will not tolerate politically motivated criminal actions of Russia on its own land or in Europe, – summed up the representative of the State Department.

The words of the American diplomat gave reason to assume that it was the United States that could be involved in the Slovak decision.

In my opinion, no other foreign representatives have commented on this situation in this vein. Therefore, draw conclusions about who may be involved, who may be interested in the decision that sovereign Slovakia has made with regard to three Russian diplomats, – said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a press conference on August 11.

He stressed that Slovakia is a friendly country to Russia, with which Moscow did not have any political problems.

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