Disinfo: European diplomats were expelled because they participed in illegal rallies

Summary

[The expulsion of European diplomats] was decided as soon as it was identified that they participated in illegal rallies. Afterwards, “rumours” began to appear that the diplomats were doing their job, their professional duties, [and] were arrested illegally, accused of something they did not commit – participate in the illegal rallies.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative concerning the ongoing protests in support of jailed opposition activist Alexei Navalny.

The European Union has condemned the expulsion of three European diplomats and rejected accusations that conducted any activities incompatible with their diplomatic status. The diplomats were fulfilling their duties of monitoring the street protests in Russia. 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)).

Furthermore, the protests currently taking place in Russia are not "illegal," given that the universal right of peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the Russian Constitution (Art. 31). A term of "unsanctioned" rallies is usually invoked by the pro-Kremlin actors 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 also similar disinformation claims that Diplomats from EU took part in unsanctioned rallies and that Russia was forced to expel EU diplomats who participated in illegal protests.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 231
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/02/2021
  • Outlet language(s) Georgian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Poland, Sweden, Germany, Russia
  • Keywords: Diplomacy with Russia, Alexei Navalny, Protest, International Law
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Involvement of Baltic states in MDO of the US army could cause real armed conflict

Small Baltic states could begin the big war. If the Baltic states will be involved in Multi-Domain Operation (MDO) warfare, it would increase the risk of war in the region.

The Baltic states are in Russia’s neighbourhood. Their territories could be used for intelligence purposes, electronic warfare and radiolocation.

The nature of MDO operations is offensive. The mistake in an offensive MDO operation (of the US forces in Europe) in the Baltics could cause real armed conflict.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative, challenging the US presence in Europe. Also presenting Baltic states as an outpost against Russia.

The conception of MDO is still developing. The US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) describe it as follows:

European diplomats expelled from Russia deliberately violated Russian laws

The European diplomats expelled from Russia were well aware that they had violated Russian laws, since the actions in which they participated were uncoordinated.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations contains a provision that “all persons enjoying privileges and immunities are obliged, without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, to respect the laws and regulations of the host country”. In Russia, back in March last year, all public and mass events were banned.

Foreign diplomats were well aware of this. Thus, the participation of employees of the Consulates General of Sweden and Poland and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in the actions held on January 23 and 31 is not only interference in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation, but also a deliberate, deliberate violation of the laws of the host state.

Disproof

A false claim on the activities of European diplomats. The three expelled diplomats did observe the manifestations, but the allegations that they took part in demonstrations are false. The European Union strongly condemned the decision to expel the European diplomats and rejected the allegations that they conducted activities incompatible with their status as foreign diplomats. According to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations(opens in a new tab), their 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)). See a similar case here.