Austria Expels Four Russian Diplomats

PeopleOther ♦ Published: February 2, 2023; 11:24 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austria expels four Russian diplomats. This was announced by the Foreign Ministry, according to a statement. The four diplomats are accused of "incompatible actions" with their diplomatic status. This expulsion, however, goes beyond espionage and incompatible acts, according to experts.

Austria expelled two diplomats from the Russian Embassy and two diplomats from the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna on suspicion of espionage. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / C.Stadler/Bwag / CC BY-SA 4.0 (

That Vienna is a hub of international intelligence has been known since the Cold War. Already in April last year, four Russian diplomats were expelled, due to incompatible acts with their diplomatic status, as reported.

Now again four Russian diplomats were expelled from Austria. It is mainly about suspicion of espionage.

As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a press release, two diplomats of the Russian embassy had committed acts incompatible with their diplomatic status and were therefore declared "undesirables (personae non gratae)". Two other diplomats of the Permanent Mission of Russia to the United Nations in Vienna will be expelled because they have committed "incompatible acts" with the headquarters agreement.

The four Russian diplomats in question would have to leave federal territory within a week, or by the end of Feb. 8, the Foreign Ministry said.

OSCE as background to expulsion

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, to be held in Vienna on February 23-24, currently puts Austria in a quandary, reported. Some allied EU partners behind the scenes have demanded that Austria not grant visas to the Russian delegation, several members of which are subject to EU sanctions, as the hosts Poland and the UK did earlier.

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg himself had criticized Russia's exclusion from the OSCE meeting in Poland, reported. However, the Foreign Ministry itself considers itself legally unable to deny entry to the Russian delegation due to an agreement with the OSCE. The OSCE meeting in Vienna is also explosive because February 24 marks the first anniversary of Russia's attack on Ukraine.

Many experts believe that the current expulsion serves as a sign of goodwill and one is of the opinion that Austria is trying to undertake a wire-rope act here. "With the expulsion of the diplomats, one can now counter the accusation that one is Russia-friendly," analyzed political scientist and Russia expert Gerhard Mangott on Twitter.

Especially in recent years, Austria has been accused of a certain closeness to Russia, also due to the fact that the right-wing conservative party FPÖ was in the former government of EX-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. The FPÖ was known above all for its closeness to the Kremlin.

In any case, according to Mangott, Russia's Foreign Ministry announced that there would be an "appropriate response" to Austria's expulsion of the four Russian diplomats.