On Wednesday, the Star.com reported that a Dutch diplomat was beaten up, by two thugs, who had broken into his Moscow apartment. Different media outlets are reporting that the Dutch diplomat, who was beaten, is Onno Elderenbosch. Elderenbosch is the deputy chief of mission at the Moscow embassy. The intruders were able to enter into Elderenbosch' gated apartment complex by posing as electricians. After forcing themselves into Elderenbosch' apartment, they knocked him to the floor and tied him to a chair. Before the intruders left, they drew a heart with the text 'LGBT' under it, reported NOS-correspondent Aleid Steenman, via his twitter account.
This is yet another international embarrassment for Russia, making their relationship with the Netherlands even more sour. Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, stated on Wednesday that the Dutch government expects the Russians to conduct a thorough investigation into Elderenbosch' assault. Dutch Foreign Minister, Frans Timmermans, has already requested an explanation from the Russian ambassador. "Our people have to be able to work safely, and I want guarantees that the Russian authorities will accept their responsibilities on that point," Timmermans wrote in a statement.
Timmermans apologized to Russia, last Wednesday, after the diplomatic immunity of Russian minister-counselor Dmitry Borodin was infringed upon by local Dutch police. Borodin claims that intruders came into his home, didn’t produce any official documents proving that they were from the police and arrested him without a reason. The Dutch media reported that the police went to Borodin’s home because they had received phone calls from his neighbors claiming that he was mistreating his children. When the police arrived, Borodin was pulling one of his children by their hair. Borodin and his wife were both drunk.
Russia responded quickly after Elderenbosch' attack had become public and extended their apologize to the Dutch government. The Russian Foreign Minister spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, said in a statement that “In Moscow we express our regrets in connection with the deplorable incident.” Over the recent years, a number of different Western ambassadors have also been harassed and assaulted in Moscow. Which causes for certain groups to believe that the incidents are being orchestrated by the Kremlin.
Dutch and Russian relations have been under fire since Russian president, Vladimir Putin, signed off on a so-called anti-gay propaganda law. During Putin's visit to the Netherlands, in April, thousands of Dutch took to the streets to protest against Russia's anti-gay propaganda law. The law bans homosexuality and allows the government to fine someone close to $15,500 for being homosexual. Euronews.com reports, that a court in Moscow has also placed a 100-year ban on the cities gay pride parried. The newly crowned Dutch king, Willem-Alexander, is expected to visit Russia and meet with Putin this November, but certain groups in the Netherlands are suggesting that he should reconsider.
Dutch politicians are also requesting that the so-called "the Netherlands-Russia Year" be ended. The idea was to take an entire year to celebrate "the rich bilateral relations" between the two countries. But that all seemed to come to an end in October, when Russian authorities claimed that a group of 30 Greenpeace protestors, which also included two journalists, used "pure provocation" during a protest at a Russian Arctic oil platform. Which triggered the Russian coast guard to board their boat and arrest them at gun point. The group, which is being held in the Russian city Murmansk, are from 18-different countries. In response to the Russian authorities claims that the activist provoked them, the Netherlands applied to the UN's Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and claimed that the ship's seizure was unlawful. The Netherlands was the first country that decided to take legal action. A Russian court has denied bail for one of the two Dutch Greenpeace protestors.