Disinfo: EU diplomats participated in unauthorised protests in Moscow

Summary

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it had taken measures to expel diplomats from Germany, Sweden and Poland from the country, after their participation in protests unauthorised by the local authorities.

Disproof

The claim advances a pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative concerning the ongoing protests in support of jailed opposition activist Alexei Navalny.

It is debatable whether any of the three expelled individuals actually participated in the demonstrations. The foreign ministries of Poland, Sweden, and Germany have all confirmed that they were observing the protests in accordance with their diplomatic duties. According to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, these duties include "[a]scertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the receiving State, and reporting thereon to the Government of the sending State" (Article 3(d)).

The protests currently taking place in Russia are not technically "illegal," given that the universal right of peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the Russian Constitution (Art. 31). More truly, the rallies are "unsanctioned" or "unauthorised", terms which the Kremlin usually invoke as a pretext to deny Russian citizens their constitutional rights, and which is incompatible with both domestic legislation and international norms. See here for further debunking.

See a similar case that Russia was forced to expel EU diplomats who participated in illegal protests.

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  • Reported in: Issue 231
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/02/2021
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic,
  • Country: Poland, Sweden, Germany, Russia
  • Keywords: Diplomacy with Russia, Alexei Navalny
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Poland wants to have the worst possible relations with a neighboring nuclear superpower

We live in a country [Poland] where Russophobia has reached the level of official state policy. Work is being done to redefine the legal definition of espionage to include cooperation with media from the countries considered as hostile.

It is fascinating to see that Polish public discourse is dominated by the idea that Poland needs to have the worst possible relations with a neighbor, who is a nuclear superpower.

Disproof

This message is a part of the Kremlin’s widespread narrative about Russophobic Poland. The Kremlin-controlled media regularly accuse the political elites of Poland of Russophobia and the implementation of anti-Russian policies.

The Polish authorities do not promote Russophobia or any type of “anti-Russian paranoia”. The Polish authorities have repeatedly stated that Poland is willing to improve its relations with Russia – these relations will automatically improve if Russia starts observing the regulations of international law. In a statement of 21 December 2019, the Polish authorities reiterated their openness to continue the historical dialogue with Russia, for example through restarting the work of the bilateral Group on Difficult Issues.

The Masters behind the meddling in Russian affairs need a new fake leader

As the bane of foreign meddling in Russia’s sovereign affairs and boy-toy of MSM Alexey Navalny retired from the scene after he finally faced the widely-expected, but still pretty soft punishment for his multiple violations of the law. So now, the masters behind the attempt to destabilize Russia needs some another fake leader of its network of influence. Fortunately, for them, there is a candidate.

Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya, which was proclaimed the ‘winner’ of the presidential election in Belarus by NATO member states, but fled the country and is now hiding in Lithuania, is already promoting Navalny’s wife, Yulia, as the ‘leader’ of the ‘Russian opposition’.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Alexei Navalny. The claim that Navalny is somehow used by the West and foreign special services for the political destabilisation of Russia is disinformation.

Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny has long been the most prominent face of Russian opposition to President Vladimir Putin. His candidacy in the 2018 presidential election was banned by authorities over his conviction by a Russian court for embezzlement, which bars him from running for office. He has been arrested and imprisoned several times during his political career.

Russia was forced to expel EU diplomats who participated in illegal protests

Russia was forced to expel three diplomats from Poland, Sweden, and Germany due to their participation in illegal pro-opposition protests on 23 January.

Disproof

The claim advances a pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative concerning the ongoing protests in support of jailed opposition activist Alexei Navalny.

None of the three diplomats actually participated in the demonstrations. The foreign ministries of Poland, Sweden, and Germany have all confirmed that their presence at the protests was linked solely to the fulfillment of their diplomatic duties of monitoring protests. According to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, these duties include "[a]scertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the receiving State, and reporting thereon to the Government of the sending State" (Article 3(d)).