Russian campaign against US consulate in Yekaterinburg has long history, Kirillova says

A line for US visas at the US General Consulate in Yekaterinburg. From 1 September 2017, issuance of US visas has been limited to the Moscow consulate. (Image: afterempire.com)

A line for US visas at the US General Consulate in Yekaterinburg. From 1 September 2017, issuance of US visas has been limited to the Moscow consulate. (Image: afterempire.com) 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia

In response to the closing of the Russian consulate in San Francisco and of two trade representations in Washington and New York, Moscow officials and Russian nationalists have called for closing the US consulate general in Yekaterinburg; but those appeals are only the latest step in a longstanding Russian campaign against that institution, according to Kseniya Kirillova.

Kseniya Kirillova

Kseniya Kirillova

On the AfterEmpire portal today, the US-based Russian journalist surveys not only the latest attacks but their history, a programmatic effort she argues is intended to make Russians suspicious of all US diplomats and thus make it difficult if not impossible for them to do their work.

The US consulate general in Yekaterinburg, which services 11 subjects of the Russian Federation, has been in operation since 1994. Over that 23-year period but especially in the last three years, it has been “the object of the harshest attacks by local ‘bloggers in civilian clothes,’ the media, and all kinds of ‘patriotic organizations.’”

The latest and one of the nastiest attacks, by the Russian Anti-Maidan group last week, has attracted some attention because of the diplomatic tit-for-tat between Moscow and Washington, Kirillova says. But the start of this “sad tradition” really dates to October 2014.

At that time, the Russian media attacked the consulate for supposedly seeking to recruit and direct local environmental activists against the authorities when the US vice consul offered to help one of their number get medical treatment abroad.

In the months since then, the local media has featured stories about many meetings between consulate officials and local people, typically with suggestions that the former are trying to recruit the latter to work against Russia (e.g., nakanune.ru and nakanune.ru).

The quality of almost all of these stories, Kirillova continues, is suggested by one that claimed a meeting between the US consul and the mayor of Yekaterinburg was intended to draw the latter into “an espionage network.”

Such attacks have only intensified whenever there are American visitors from Washington or from the US embassy in Moscow as in December 2015 when two senior US diplomats arrived to meet with Yekaterinburg and regional businessmen, a core part of the consulate’s entirely legal responsibilities.

More media attacks on the consulate as a source of anti-Russian ideas have followed, Kirillova reports (livejournal.com, livejournal.com, 66.ru and livejournal.com), including some that include information that would not have been publicly available to journalists.

The Russian journalist concludes her article with some examples of the ways in which Russian consular officials have behaved in the US, ways very different from the ones US consular officials have in Russia but quite similar to the kind that Russian media attack the American diplomats for.

About six months ago, she notes, Moscow’s Kommersant newspaper reported that Russian diplomats had called on Russian emigres in the US to oppose Washington policies, an appeal that was followed by the documentation of Russian efforts to organize militarized camps for the children of emigres in the US (on that, see “Moscow diplomats said behind formation of militarized Russian and Cossack groups in US“).

Whether Moscow will close the Yekaterinburg consulate remains unclear at present, Kirillova says, although it is obvious that the Russian foreign ministry doesn’t understand the differences between Russian and US diplomats and simply projects what the former do on the latter.

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • veth

    Russian Prime Minister Medvedev bans purchase of foreign furniture for state use

    Wednesday, September 13, 2017 9:00:13 AM

    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree prohibiting the purchase of imported furniture for state institutions for two years, as of December 1.

    The decree was published on the Russian government’s website.

    Manufacturers in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will be an exception.

    “The decisions were made in order to utilize the production capacity of domestic furniture and woodwork industry enterprises, in order to improve the competitiveness of Russian production,” the document states.
    The ban includes all kinds of furniture.

    The document lists several exceptions in addition to contracts with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. The first exception is if the goods are produced according to an existing contract between Russia and investors. Another exception is if the goods meet the demands for industrial products, in the absence of a special investment contract.

    Furthermore, the report specifies that Russian materials or products from EAEU states must be used to produce domestic furniture.

    At the end of August, Kommersant newspaper wrote that the Russian Ministry of Finance had announced a revision of its preferences for state goods purchases from EAEU states. Countries in the union must offer a 15% price advantage to participants in state purchases who are offering goods from EAEU.

    By order of the Russian Ministry of Economy, price privileges were given to participants in state purchases offering deliveries from the list of goods of Russian, Armenian, Belarusian, Kazakh and Kyrgyz origin.

    Earlier, the Ministry of Trade and Industry banned state purchases of foreign furniture. Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov said that this will support Russian manufacturers, who are currently only 40-50% utilized. “In this way they are prepared to offset the cost of all the volume which falls away as a result of the ban, estimated at roughly 30-40 billion rubles per annum,” he said.

    Relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated since 2014 on account of the situation in Eastern Ukraine and the violent annexation of Crimea. At the end of July that year, the EU and US transitioned from targeted sanctions against individual physical entities and companies to measures against a number of sectors of the Russian economy. The sanctions have been extended multiple times. In August that year Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to adopt special economic sanctions banning the import of agricultural products, materials and food from countries which had introduced sanctions against Russia.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The end result will be that the average Dwarfstanian will be confronted with higher prices and shoddy goods, as has happened with the domestic food industry. Without foreign competition Dwarfstanian manufacturers can sell their stuff at whatever price they like and without any quality control- the customer has no alternative.
      Medvedev, of course, wil still be able to buy foreign furniture to his heart’s content, as will the other top Dwarfstanian thugs. All animals are equal and all that.

      • Rafael Hernandez

        Come on, your comments are always factually wrong. Stop spamming your russophobia, it only contributes to the bad picture people have of Ukrainains

        • Ihor Dawydiak

          Too funny, Rafochko. The only “people” who have a “bad picture” are Kremlin trolls and their “bad picture” is based on; 1) They don’t have any logical counter argument, and 2) The truth hurts.

  • Dirk Smith
    • Rafael Hernandez

      Actually Russia is a superpower. And the salaries there are 8x times larger than Ukraine. So that makes Ukraine a 5th world country, right. Or is Ukraine such a prosperious country after Maidan. Maybe regretting it now?

      • zorbatheturk

        Lay off the crack pipe, dude.

      • Murf

        A super power that can’t afford a Blue water Navy,
        Can’t build or buy carriers.abnd the only one they do have can’t retrieve fighters.
        Can’t build heavy cargo transports.
        Can’t build steam turbines
        Or even semi conductors.
        Absent the Spviet NUCs Russia is a dying 3rd world dictatorship.

        • 159357

          and you can’t even beat peasants and miners.

          • Tony

            Is that why Russia had to intervene when UA army surrounded and sieged Donetsk and Luhansk at the beginning of their proxy war? Then a rash supply of Russian weapons, mercenaries and booze let a Russian Buk(as proven in JIT report) to destroy MH-17.

            You poor fools, trolling for cash. Don’t you realized how f*cked you are? What you gonna put on your c.v after the troll gig busts? Developed skills as a liar and troll? Well done wasting your life, with that resume you will be cleaning streets in a decade.

          • 159357

            no, i live in germany and i dont want the ukraine in the EU. Sorry to say, but luckily, it will never happen. :)

          • Murf

            Ukraine was beating peasants and miners. Donetsk was blockaded and the the Ukraine Army was pushing into Luhansk.
            It was only the intervention of the superpower want-a be that saved the truncated New Rossyi.
            Take all the Russian invaders out and see how long the war lasts.

          • 159357

            who cates. thank you russia for keeping us the ukraine off our necks 😀

          • Murf

            While your at it thank them for devastating the Donbas. Onces a prosperous region it is now a Post Industrial wasteland with half it’s population reduced to IDPs. The half begging for recognition that will never come.
            You should also thank Russia for annexing Donbas like they promised.
            Oh wait, maybe not.

          • 159357

            “While your at it thank them for devastating the Donbas.”
            hahahaha, dat irony. an american is crying because other countries do war XXDDD

          • 159357

            *cares

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        Dwarfstan’s so “super” that it can’t even complete ships for its navy because the west has placed an embargo on the delivery of diesel engines, ditto for the Ukrainians refusing to supply the gas turbines and reduction gearing, and has been forced to sell the incomplete ships to India. Dwarfstan doesn’t have the industrial capacity to develop and manufacture its own diesel engines, turbines and gearing.
        But according to the dwarf the country does have the world’s best prostitutes- hardly an “achievement” to be proud of, is it? Not that the dwarf would know given his perverse preference for little boys.

    • Ihor Dawydiak

      Consulate closures will only hurt ordinary Russians in Russia and the Kremlin spy network in the USA.

  • veth
    • zorbatheturk

      Yowza!

    • Tony

      Not yet but it’s a start. The sooner the better, RT doesn’t believe in objectivity and they don’t get paid by the Russian government to write fair balanced stories. It’s psychological warfare