Friday, October 18, 2013

Mike Nova comments: Czar Peter, sir, and what would you think and say about all this, Ah?!: The intruders had drawn a heart and the letters LGBT... on the wall of the man's house - WSJ and other news stories

MOSCOW—A high-ranking Dutch diplomat was assaulted in his home in the Russian capital by two men who had forced their way inside, officials said Wednesday. The incident came a week after the Netherlands apologized for the alleged beating of a Russian diplomat by Dutch police in The Hague.
The confrontations come amid increased diplomatic tension between the two countries following Russia's arrest of environmental activists from a Greenpeace ship sailing under a Dutch flag who were protesting last month against offshore drilling in Russia's Arctic. 

Russian police said in a statement that the unknown assailants had forced their way into the home of a Dutch man on a street in central Moscow that is home to several embassies and the Russian Supreme Court, knocked him to the floor, bound him with duct tape and "used violence against him." They then trashed the apartment and fled, police said.
The 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."
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans confirmed that the victim was a Dutch diplomat in a message posted on his Facebook page. "He was slightly injured. I have spoken with him and he is doing OK now," Mr. Timmermans wrote.
Russia's Foreign Ministry later identified the official as 60-year-old Onno Elderenbosch, the deputy head of the Dutch mission who had until earlier this year served as acting ambassador.
Mr. Timmermans said he has summoned the Russian ambassador to the Netherlands to the foreign ministry.
"The Netherlands is asking for an explanation from the Russian authorities about this incident. Our people must be able to work safely over there and I want to be assured that the Russian authorities are taking their responsibility on that point," he wrote.
In a statement, Russia's Foreign Ministry said it regretted "the unfortunate incident," and that "all necessary measures" were being taken "to find and arrest the persons involved in this crime."
The episode follows the brief arrest on Oct. 5 of the No. 2 diplomat at the Russian embassy in The Hague, after neighbors worried about the two children in his apartment had called police. The man said police had handcuffed him and hit him on the head with a baton even though he had identified himself as a diplomat.
President Vladimir Putin called the incident a "rude violation" of diplomatic treaties and demanded an apology. Russian officials also floated the prospect of a ban on Dutch tulips and dairy products. The Dutch Foreign Ministry on Oct. 9 said it was sorry for violating the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity.
Relations between the countries have grown increasingly tense since a Russian court jailed 30 people who were aboard the Greenpeace ship during the Sept. 18 protest, in which activists attempted to scale an offshore platform in the Arctic to protest oil exploration. They were ordered to be held in pretrial detention on piracy charges earlier this month. The charges carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
The arrests of the 28 activists, plus a photographer and videographer—dubbed the "Arctic 30"—has sparked demonstrations at Russian embassies and consulates around the world calling for their release. Earlier this month, the Dutch government said it would file a case before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Germany to recover the ship.
Ironically, the tension comes as the two countries celebrate "Netherlands-Russia Year," a continuing program of economic and cultural activities designed to emphasize bilateral relations.
Dutch parliamentarian Michiel Servaes argued Wednesday that the yearlong event should be "put on hold" until guarantees about the safety of Dutch diplomats are made.
The king of the Netherlands, Willem Alexander, is scheduled to visit Russia and meet with Mr. Putin in November. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he would not speculate on whether the incident would affect the king's trip.
"It is very serious what has happened, but we need to get the facts first," he said.
Write to Lukas I. Alpert at
A version of this article appeared October 17, 2013, on page A9 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Dutch Diplomat Assaulted in Moscow as Tension Rises.

  1. NetherlandsRussia relations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    NetherlandsRussia relations is the relationships between the two countries, the Netherlands and Russia. Russia has an embassy in The Hague, and the ...

    Mike Nova comments: 

    Czar Peter, sir, and what would you think and say about all this, Ah?! Say it to Mr. Putin, por favor; I think he needs to hear it. You are his "role model", anyway. Maybe he will listen to you and will learn something from you about the conduct of international relations. Even your guys appear to had been less barbaric than his are, in a historical retrospect. And have a nice talk with him when two of you meet upstairs, and, please do not forget to take your big cane with you. 

    Where is the Politburo, where are their plumbers and electricians; can't you fix this, already, before he tries to bash the whole diplomatic corps' brains in? Can't you write LGBT in big red letters on his mirror and on the walls of his house, so he could at least learn what it is before sending his thugs in? 

    Mr. Regent, Sergey Ivanov, sir: do you see not that your charge is getting completely out of bounds? If something else happens, he, God forbids, might open his little nuclear suitcase and will start pushing all the buttons indiscriminately in a fit of rage. He does not seem to know the difference between the "tit for tat" and the "quid pro quo". Does he know the difference between good and bad, between proper and wise diplomatic response (when people on the Dutch side have already apologized and the case should have been closed and forgotten) and the senseless and confrontational revenge and retaliation, stemming from his own personal inferiority complex, uncontrollable impulse to hurt back and chronic, mad, immature, childish anger? Does he know what "measured response", moderation and political prudence are? He used to know them, I think. So, what happened now: has he simply nothing to lose and does he not care? And, please, do not try to say that it was not him: nothing happens there without his command and approval (very unfortunately), a la Ivan Grozny in his later years. And this is not just a single episode, absolutely the same thing happened earlier with Polish diplomat several years ago. This is the pattern of gross political misbehavior, and very alarming and dangerous one. Maybe he got so enraged because he did not get his Noble Prize? Who knows? And I will not mention some other occurrences at this point, out of simple and diplomatic politeness; although, I am sure that you are very well aware of them. 

    Is this not the right time and a good idea to arrange some good professional forensic psychiatric evaluation for this little boy, before he gets completely nuts and brings poor Mother Russia to its ruin and to its grave with him? As you did some time ago with Yeltsin? And as it had to be done with most of his predecessors? Serbsky Institute is apparently back in "bidniz" and maybe you can find some, not completely corrupted yet guys there? Your late Tamara Dmitrieva, Serbsky director, promoted, appointed and generously awarded for her special KGB services by your dear little old boy Putin, who conducted Yeltsin's psychiatric examination, displayed such nice extra-shiny extra-sized gems on her very caring hands and upper torso, (apparently, gifts and payments, not to say bribes, from her very grateful mafia and other VIP patients) that one almost had to use heavily tinted sun shades to watch her "duma testimony". She looked more like a pretty doll in the window of the most exclusive jewelry store on Tverskaya street than a physician. She refused to disclose Yeltsin's psychiatric diagnosis on the phony, false and absolutely irrelevant pretext of "vrachebnaya taina": patient's right to privacy and confidentiality. No such thing, when it concerns the very powerful ruling politician, in my very humble opinion; because his state of health, carefully and artfully hidden from others, might affect very directly and very tragically the fate of his country and the fate of the world. 

    And is this not the right and proper time and the course of actions: to take the steering wheel of the state into your own hands or to give it to some good and responsible person, who will be able to handle it, rather than to leave it in the hands of your half-crazed, irresponsible and immature, but in the most troubling way, obviously criminally slanted in many respects, poor little old boy? 

    Mr. Putin, you are a sick (in many various aspects) and a very troubled man. Your mask of superficial psychopathic charm and demonstratively "benign nature" is worn off completely, and there is nothing there beyond and behind it, just enraged wolf's grin. You affect very negatively, adversely, unpredictably and dangerously the climate and the situations within your own country and internationally. I do not think that it is possible, feasible or potentially productive to do any business with you. I think that you should resign or to be removed. I also think that you should be the subject to prosecution, domestic, international or both for the abuse of political power and corruption, for acts that we do know and that we do not know yet but will investigate and will try to discover. And this is my very humble and strictly personal opinion. 

    Disrespectfully, Michael Novakhov. 


      Last Update: 

      2:57 PM 10/18/2013:

    P.S. My humble advice, my dear sirs, for whatever it stands: Turn everything upside down, if the need be; but do find those thugs (if they are not found already), and as soon as possible, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. But most importantly, find out who is behind them, which "electrical company" or "chief electrician" and deal with them appropriately also. 

    Some other news stories from: 

    » Assault of Dutch Diplomat in Moscow Frays Ties Between Russia and the ... - New York Times
    17/10/13 00:40 from Russia - Google News
    New York TimesAssault of Dutch Diplomat in Moscow Frays Ties Between Russia and the ...New York TimesMOSCOW — The year 2013 was officially supposed to be one of cultural exchange to highlight the friendship between Russia and the Netherl...

    Assault of Dutch Diplomat in Moscow Frays Ties Between Russia and the Netherlands

    Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    A computer screen showing a photo of Onno Elderenbosch, the Netherlands’ deputy ambassador to Russia, who was beaten up in his apartment in Moscow.

    » Attack on diplomat in Moscow deepens Dutch-Russian rift
    16/10/13 17:59 from World news: Russia |
    Dutch deputy head of mission in Russia assaulted at his flat 10 days after opposite number was arrested in The HagueA senior Dutch diplomat has been assaulted by unidentified assailants at his home in Moscow days after Dutch police arres...

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    Dutch deputy head of mission in Russia assaulted at his flat 10 days after opposite number was arrested in The Hague
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    Tom Balmforth in Moscow, Wednesday 16 October 2013 13.59 EDT
    Onno Elderenbosch building
    Passersby outside the apartment building in Moscow where Onno Elderenbosch was attacked. Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images
    A senior Dutch diplomat has been assaulted by unidentified assailants at his home in Moscow days after police in the Netherlands arrested his Russian counterpart.

    Two men barged into the home of Onno Elderenbosch, the Dutch deputy head of mission in Russia, and beat him, tied him up with tape and drew a heart pierced with an arrow on his mirror in pink lipstick and beneath it the letters LGBT, the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

    The Russian foreign ministry said authorities would "take all measures" to find those responsible, working in close partnership with the Dutch, but the incident looks certain to worsen fraying ties between the countries, with the king and queen of the Netherlands due to visit Russia next month.

    Upon returning home on Tuesday night Elderenbosch found that the lift in his apartment building was not working and encountered two men posing as electricians, according to Russian media reports.

    They reportedly asked to check his fourth-floor apartment for electricity, and when he opened the door they overpowered him and forced their way inside. Elderenbosch, 60, sustained minor injuries in the incident. The intruders stole nothing.

    Ten days earlier Dutch police arrested Elderenbosch's opposite number, Dmitry Borodin, the number two in the Russian embassy in the Hague, despite him having diplomatic immunity.

    Borodin, who says he was beaten with a police baton, was detained for three hours on 5 October in an incident that Vladimir Putin said violated the Vienna convention. The Russian president demanded a public apology, subsequently issued by the Dutch foreign minister, Frans Timmermans. But the Netherlands declined to bring any police officers to account.

    According to Dutch media reports cited by the AFP news agency, Borodin was found drunk and barely able to stand when police arrived at his home after neighbours complained he was mistreating his children. Russia has rubbished these reports.

    In the wake of the incident an aide to Gennady Onishchenko, the chief health inspector known for banning produce from countries at odds with the Kremlin, threatened to impose an import ban on Dutch tulips and dairy products.

    Ties between the Netherlands and Russia began to fray conspicuously in September when border guards seized a Dutch-flagged Greenpeace ship that activists used for an environmental protest on an oil rig operated by the Russian state gas giant Gazprom in the Arctic Pechora Sea.

    On 4 October the Dutch launched legal proceedings against Russia, hoping to go to the international tribunal for the law of the sea, based in Hamburg, to contest the manner by which Russian border guards seized the Arctic Sunrise in international waters.

    The Greenpeace activists, among them two Dutch nationals, have been charged with piracy, which carries 10 to 15 years in jail in Russia. They could face further charges after investigators claimed they found illegal substances on board the boat. A court in Murmansk, northern Russia, has so far rejected all appeals for bail.

    Dutch politicians have said they hope legal proceedings will draw further attention to the charges, which have been criticised as baseless.

    It is not the first time diplomats have encountered problems in Russia. Britain's former ambassador Anthony Brenton was hounded for months in 2006 by members of a pro-Kremlin youth group after the murder of Alexander Litvinenko led to a spate of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions between the UK and Russia.

    The current US ambassador, Michael McFaul, has complained that pro-government television crews have displayed an uncanny knowledge of his movements, suggesting they are able to monitor his phone calls and email correspondence. On Wednesday McFaul condemned the attack of Elderenbosch, writing on Twitter that "such actions are unacceptable".

    Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, was reported to have spoken to his Dutch counterpart by telephone on Wednesday evening to inform him of progress in the investigation, although no details were forthcoming.

    As well as the Greenpeace incident, Russia and the Netherlands have been at odds over LGBT issues this year. When Putin flew to Amsterdam in April, thousands waved rainbow flags in Amsterdam to protest against Russian legislation prohibiting the distribution of "gay propaganda" among minors.

    In July four Dutch nationals who were producing a film about LGBT rights were detained by police in the Russian north and questioned for several hours before being released. They were subsequently banned from returning to Russia for three years, purportedly because they had violated their visa regulations. They are believed to be the first foreigners to have crossed paths with the legislation.

    Dutch politicians have urged King Willem-Alexander to cancel his planned visit next month. The king is due in Russia to mark the end of a bilateral project called "Netherlands-Russia year", designed to mark 400 years of relations between the two countries. On Wednesday Dutch politicians called for the project to be abandoned entirely.

    » Dutch Express Outrage Over Attack on Diplomat in Moscow
    16/10/13 20:00 from The Moscow Times Top Stories
    Investigators opened a criminal case Wednesday in connection with an attack on a Dutch diplomat in his Moscow apartment, amid growing tensions between Russia and the Netherlands during a year meant to celebrate relations between the two ...

    » U.S. 'Disturbed' by Attack on Dutch Diplomat
    17/10/13 04:53 from The Moscow Times Top Stories
    The U.S. has strongly condemned the attack on a senior Dutch diplomat in his Moscow apartment on Tuesday evening, and expressed concern about reports that the assault may have been directed against homosexuals. 

    U.S. 'Disturbed' by Attack on Dutch Diplomat

    RIA Novosti
    The U.S. has strongly condemned the attack on a senior Dutch diplomat in his Moscow apartment on Tuesday evening, and expressed concern about reports that the assault may have been directed against homosexuals.
    "We call on the Russian authorities to thoroughly investigate this unacceptable attack and bring to justice those responsible," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a briefing Wednesday.
    "We are also disturbed by a reported anti-LGBT element" to the assault, Psaki said, adding that it was "crucial for the Russian government to ensure a climate of tolerance and reassure their own people and foreign visitors that Russia is a safe place for all."
    Unknown assailants on Tuesday evening forced their way into the central Moscow home of a diplomat identified as Onno Elderenbosch, an aide to the Dutch ambassador to Russia, pushed him to the floor and tied him up before ransacking the apartment, Russia's Investigative Committee said in a statement.
    The attackers did not steal anything, but drew a large pink heart on a mirror and scrawled "LGBT" beneath it, LifeNews reported.
    The Foreign Ministry has expressed regret for the "deplorable incident," which took place days after a Russian diplomat in the Netherlands was arrested by Dutch police on suspicions of child abuse, sparking outrage among Russian politicians.
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    Dutch Express Outrage Over an Attack on Diplomat in Moscow

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    Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise after being seized by Russian authorities Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise after being seized by Russian authorities during a protest against drilling in the Arctic. Photograph: Igor Podgorny/AFP/Getty Images

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    16 Oct 2013 — 
    Here is published an opinion editorial by Anders Åslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, warning of the dangers of growing Russian parochialism. The article argues that Russia’s trade policy, particularly in regards to the Russian-backed Customs Union, makes no sense and harms Russia’s national interests. Politically, President Vladimir Putin is turning most post-Soviet states against his country, compelling them to seek security elsewhere. Economically, Russia is paying large subsidies while impeding the modernisation of its economy. Legally, it is provoking World Trade Organisation (WTO) sanctions. Instead, Russia should open up its economy and render it more competitive by trying to conclude free trade agreements with the EU as everybody else is doing.
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    Putin's Billionaire Ally Buys Half of Tele2 Russia OperatorBloombergPresident Vladimir Putin's billionaire ally Yury Kovalchuk is buying half of Tele2 Russia Holding AB with partners, seeking to make the wireless carrier a strong...

    » VTB Sells 50% Tele2 Stake to Billionaire Consortium
    17/10/13 12:33 from The Moscow Times Top Stories
    State bank VTB has agreed to sell 50 percent of Tele2 Russia, turning a quick profit and gaining investors with the expertise that could help it to challenge the dominance of the country's big three mobile phone operators.

    » Suspected Biryulyovo Killer Rescinds Confession
    17/10/13 15:10 from The Moscow Times Top Stories
    Azerbaijan wants to provide consular support to an Azeri accused of a killing that triggered ethnic riots in Moscow's Biryulyovo district, the country's ambassador said, as the suspect rescinded his confession in the case.

    » Ukraine's Yanukovych Ready To Release Tymoshenko For Treatment Abroad
    17/10/13 12:27 from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
    The EU's enlargement commissioner and Yulia Tymoshenko's daughter both say they expect the jailed former Ukrainian prime minister to be released for medical treatment abroad before next month's European Union summit.

    » Russian scientists recover giant chunk of meteorite from bottom of lake
    17/10/13 11:37 from - Europe RSS Feed 
    Russian scientists have recovered a giant chunk of the Chelyabinsk meteorite from the bottom of the lake it crashed into.

    » Russian Scientists Report Virulent New HIV Strain
    17/10/13 08:36 from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
    Novosibirsk's Koltsovo science city said in a statement on October 16 that the subtype of the HIV virus -- known as 02_AG/A -- was first detected in Novosibirsk in 2006 and now accounts for more than 50 percent of the registered cases in...

    » New HIV Strain in Russia Spreading Rapidly, Scientists Say
    16/10/13 15:49 from The Moscow Times Top Stories
    A scientific research center in Siberia said Wednesday that it has discovered a new strain of HIV in Russia and that the virus is spreading "at a rapid rate."

    » Former Hungarian Official Charged With War Crimes in 1956 Uprising
    16/10/13 14:39 from NYT > Europe
    Bela Biszku, a 92-year-old former interior minister, was on a committee of the Communist Party that ordered the shooting of Hungarians who rose up against Soviet rule more than half a century ago.    

    Mike Nova comments: Better late than never.