Moscow Expels Four Austrian Diplomats from Russia

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: February 16, 2023; 16:23 ♦ (Vindobona)

Russia has announced that it will expel four Austrian diplomats. In addition to the expulsion of the Austrian diplomats, the Austrian ambassador in Moscow, Werner Almhofer, was also cited to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This comes as a kind of retaliation after Vienna itself expelled four Russian diplomats a few weeks ago.

The staff of the Austrian Embassy in Moscow has been bottlenecked by the expulsion of the four Austrian diplomats. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Shakko / CC BY-SA 4.0 (

After Austria expelled four Russian diplomats some time ago, creating its political thriller, as reported, Russia now took countermeasures.

While the diplomats expelled by Austria performed "acts incompatible with their diplomatic status," according to the Foreign Ministry, Russia made it clear that the measure was purely politically motivated.

The Foreign Ministry in Moscow said Vienna had thus taken an "unfriendly and unjustified step" and was destroying Austria's previous position as a respectful, unbiased and neutral state. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, this also "damaged the international reputation of Vienna, which had previously positioned itself as an unbiased, neutral state and a platform for international diplomacy."

The Foreign Ministry in Vienna reacted calmly to the announcement from Moscow, as ORF reported, "The expulsion of Austrian embassy staff from Russia does not come as a surprise," it said in a statement. It was an "unjustified decision by Russia that lacks any factual basis.

In addition to the expulsion of the Austrian diplomats, the Austrian ambassador in Moscow, Werner Almhofer, was also cited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. According to the Russian Embassy in Vienna, Almhofer was also "alerted to emerging difficulties in issuing visas to official Russian delegations traveling to Vienna to participate in multilateral events, which contradicts Austria's obligations as a venue for international meetings." This, too, will not be without consequences announced by the Kremlin.

As reported, the Russian ambassador in Vienna, Dmitry Lyubinsky, also already criticized Austria for its actions. Right-wing media in Austria, which traditionally have a closeness to the Kremlin, even reported that Lyubinsky spoke of retaliation. These may now have happened.

Staff shortage at Austria's embassy in Moscow

In any case, as ORF reported, the expulsion of the diplomats, who must leave Russia by Feb. 23, will lead to a significant reduction in embassy staff.

Most recently, according to the Austrian Foreign Ministry, there were 13 diplomats, six members of specialized departments and four administrative-technical staff at the embassy.

Russian Embassy in Vienna