Who Were the Four Expelled Austrian Diplomats in Moscow?

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: February 20, 2023; 21:51 ♦ (Vindobona)

The expulsion of the Austrian diplomats, who must leave Russia, will lead to a significant reduction in embassy staff. But what positions did the diplomats hold?

Austrian diplomats have been expelled from Moscow, creating a bottleneck in the Embassy's staff. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Shakko / CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

The thriller about the expulsions of diplomats continues. After four Russian diplomats were expelled from Austria, Moscow took countermeasures, Vindobona.org reported and expelled four Austrian diplomats. The Austrian Foreign Ministry commented on the Kremlin's accusations on Twitter.

The Austrian Embassy staff members concerned perform their functions exclusively within the framework of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Austria's Foreign Ministry said.

Among those four Austrians who were declared undesirables by the Russian Foreign Ministry last week are said to be the head of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Moscow and two administrative-technical employees of the embassy, according to ORF. Also affected is a representative of the Foreign Trade Center of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, which is located at the embassy.

According to ORF, the career diplomat affected, who as first secretary is also part of the embassy's management, had only been appointed director of the Austrian Cultural Forum at the beginning of 2021. The Cultural Forum, as part of the Embassy, would continue to be in contact with the Russian civilian population, which, according to the position taken by the Austrian federal government, should not break off, it was said today from the Austrian Foreign Ministry.

In addition to culture, the Russian measure also targets the presence of the Chamber of Commerce, as the deputy economic delegate will have to leave Russia. "Economic delegate Rudolf Lukavsky is still active in Moscow to advise local businesses with legal information - among other things when it comes to withdrawing from the Russian market," explained the responsible department head Michael Otter, according to ORF. He referred to the statement of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, which had called this expulsion of the diplomats "an unjustified decision by Russia" without factual basis.

Anyhow, rumors suggest that the expulsion of the diplomats, who must leave by Feb. 23, will result in a significant reduction of embassy staff. According to the Austrian Foreign Ministry, the embassy had 13 diplomats, six members of specialized departments and four administrative-technical staff.

Despite the rumors, the Austrian Foreign Ministry assured on Twitter, assured on Twitter that the functioning of the Austrian Embassy in Moscow remains guaranteed, in particular, in the interests of Austrian citizens in Russia and to maintain channels of communication.