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Russian Men Beat Up Dutch Diplomat In His Apartment, Scrawl Heart And "LGBT" In Lipstick

A Dutch diplomat in Russia is recovering after two men broke into his apartment, beat him, and scrawled a heart and the acronym "LGBT" on a mirror in lipstick, the latest in a string of incidents straining Moscow's relationship with the Netherlands.

The diplomat, whom Russian media named as Onno Elderenbosch, called police in Moscow Tuesday after the attack, RIA Novosti reported, citing police sources. Elderenbosch, an assistant to the Dutch ambassador, suffered light injuries and is in good condition, the agency added.

LifeNews, a tabloid website linked to the Russian security services, reported that the men who attacked Elderenbosch pretended to be workers inspecting an electricity outage before beating him and trashing his apartment, but did not steal anything. The website posted a photos of the heart and LGBT tag on the mirror, as well as another photo of the trashed apartment.

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans summoned Russia's ambassador to the Hague over the incident Wednesday, the embassy told RIA Novosti."Our people must be able to work there safely and I want the assurance that the Russian authorities also take their responsibility on that point," Timmermans wrote on his Facebook page, according to a translation by the BBC.

Tensions have run high between the two countries since Russia arrested the crew of a Dutch-flagged ship, the Arctic Sunrise, owned by Greenpeace last month when activists attempted to storm an offshore drilling platform operated by state-run energy giant Gazprom. All 30 people onboard, including two journalists, are being held without bail for two months on charges of piracy, which carries a term of up to 15 years in prison. The Netherlands are taking legal action under the U.N.'s Law of the Sea to release the crew members. Russian investigators claim to have found hard drugs on board the ship.

Timmermans apologized to the Kremlin last week after police arrested a minister-counsellor at the Russian embassy in the Hague on child abuse charges. Police were investigating a complain from neighbors over the welfare of the diplomat's children and admitted that he was detained in violation of diplomatic immunity. Dutch media reported that Borodin was detained because he was drunk when police arrived at his apartment.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Oct 16th, 2013 at 05:05:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
Dutch media reported that Borodin was detained because he was drunkRussian when police arrived at his apartment.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Oct 16th, 2013 at 05:06:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dutch media allege far more than that. It has been claimed that the police officers saw Borodin drag his children by the hair through his apartment and hitting the oldest child (4) on the head, and he was arrested among others for molestation.

It is furthermore alleged that the police got involved after his wife, drunk behind the wheel, damaged several cars, and officers were tipped by neighbours of the diplomat's misbehaviour.

It is not contested that four cars were most definitely hit on that Saturday night by a car with a plate belonging to the Russian embassy. The blood test of the female driver has not been released in public.

None of this of course detracts from the fact that the arrest of Borodin was in breach with the Vienna Convention and a diplomatic blunder.

by Bjinse on Wed Oct 16th, 2013 at 06:30:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Diplomatic blunder, or diplomatic provocation? One hopes it was the latter...

Looks like we're into tit-for-tat now. Though this latest act preserves plausible deniability.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Oct 16th, 2013 at 07:59:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That strikes me as odd. Why 'hope' for diplomatic provocation in the case of Borodin?

It's only tit-for-tat if one takes the Russian version of the Borodin incident as truth - which is opposed by the facts on the ground.

Even so, if the first reports are correct of the recent incident, this is more severe and violent than the Russian version of the 'tat'.

Russian police said in a statement that the unknown assailants forced their way into the home of a Dutch citizen on a street in central Moscow that is home to several embassies and Russia's Supreme Court, knocked him to the floor, bound him with duct tape, and "used violence against him." They then trashed the apartment and fled, the Russian police said.

Russia's state news agency RIA-Novosti, citing police sources, said the intruders had drawn a heart and the letters LGBT--an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender--on the wall of the man's house. Russia has drawn heavy criticism abroad for the recent passage of a law banning gay "propaganda."

by Bjinse on Wed Oct 16th, 2013 at 08:22:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And it is only tit-for-tat if one also assumes that the men beating up Elderenbosch is acting on the behalf of the Russian state.

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by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 16th, 2013 at 08:33:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's why I say they have plausible deniability. (Though I haven't seen a plausible alternative explanation for the assault on Elderenbosch). But it smells strongly of the Russians believing that the Borodin incident was a provocation.

On reflection, the Borodin incident might have been a matter of the cops, sent to talk to Borodin, overstepping the mark having seen him brutalizing his children. But it's a little bit hard to believe (impossible actually) that they were not aware of his diplomatic immunity (though diplomatic immunity has its limits in cases involving violence, surely?).

So it's at least plausible that the cops considered they were covered in arresting him. Have they been disciplined?

As to why i "hope" it was a provocation... well, I like a good story.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Oct 16th, 2013 at 08:55:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, from the thriller point of view, I get why you'd prefer a provocation instead. :)

On reflection, the Borodin incident might have been a matter of the cops, sent to talk to Borodin, overstepping the mark having seen him brutalizing his children. But it's a little bit hard to believe (impossible actually) that they were not aware of his diplomatic immunity (though diplomatic immunity has its limits in cases involving violence, surely?).

It's unclear at what point Borodin announced himself as diplomat to the officers, or at what point they were aware of his diplomatic status. I don't take for granted either that the police officers involved were familiar enough with the rights of the Vienna Convention - which does have its exceptions but,  as far as I understand it, does not covers charges of child abuse.

I won't argue against anyone that it would be rather daft if police officers operating in The Hague are not familiar enough with diplomatic immunity, but stranger or more stupid things have most certainly happened.

Have they been disciplined?

No. The minister refused to, and posted a link to Je Ne Regrette Rien on his Facebook page the day after he apologized to Russia for the arrest and detention of Borodin. Completely unrelated events and of course not provocative. :)

by Bjinse on Wed Oct 16th, 2013 at 10:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK. The minister's attitude speaks volumes...

But diplomatically, it's a complicated precedent. Implicit in this is some sort of cultural-stereotyping ping-pong : Russians who get drunk, smash up cars and beat their children aren't welcome in the Netherlands; Dutch queers aren't welcome in Russia.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Oct 16th, 2013 at 11:35:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rutte who? Rutte is the Prime Minister of The Netherlands and "enjoys" the events of the Russia-Netherlands Cultural Year. Recent political row started with Dutch protests against new Russian anti-homo legislation and the Sochi Winter Olympics. Shortly followed by the Greenpeace "assault" of a Gazprom platform in the Arctic Sea and the arrest of Russian diplomat Borodin in The Hague. Due to all domestic economic problems and the new austerity measures by the Rutte cabinet of VVD Liberals and PvdA Labor, a bit of foreign policy attention is a welcome distraction. Has the visit by King Willem-Alexander been cancelled yet? Or the $1bn Russian investment for use of new oil terminal in Rotterdam harbor? What about the close business deals between Shell, Gasunie and Gazprom?

Dutch gas production is now in an irreversible decline phase

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Oct 16th, 2013 at 07:54:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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