How the West and Russia set a record for the expulsions of diplomats. infographics

Since January, the countries have already expelled more than 300 Russian diplomats. This is the maximum since 2000, RBC calculated, after analyzing how Russia and other countries exchanged expulsions over the past 20 years

Since 2000, more than 700 employees of Russian diplomatic missions in different countries have faced the requirement to go home. Moscow expelled almost 1,100 people in response. Since the beginning of 2022, foreign states have announced the expulsion of more than 370 Russian diplomatic staff of various ranks. This is the highest since 2000. In just over three months, countries have expelled more Russian diplomats than in total over the past 17 years: from 2004 to 2021— 364 people.

Statements of the most massive deportations since the beginning of the year occurred during the military operation in Ukraine. The next round began on April 4-5.

A new wave of expulsions

Since 2000, the United States has been leading in the number of Russian diplomats expelled— only 223 people. Poland rose sharply to second place in 2022: on March 23, Polish special services demanded the expulsion of 45 Russian diplomats suspected of espionage from the country. Before that, since 2000, Poland had eight exiled diplomats on its account.

Next come Germany, France and Italy. On April 4, the German Foreign Ministry announced the expulsion of 40 Russian diplomats, the Italian Foreign Ministry— 30 diplomats, the French Foreign Ministry announced the decision to send a “set” Russian diplomats from the country, but did not specify their number. According to BFM, we are talking about 30 employees. For all the time before this, since 2000, Germany expelled 10 people, France and Italy— four people each.

Slovenia expels Russian diplomats for the first time since 2000— On April 5, the country's Foreign Ministry announced that it would send 33 people. Following these countries, Spain has risen sharply in the list. On April 5, the country's Foreign Ministry announced its decision to expel about 25 Russian diplomats. The Foreign Minister also said that the number of diplomats is still being specified.

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Estonia is also among the top ten countries in 2022. On April 5, the Estonian Foreign Ministry announced that it was expelling 14 employees of the Russian consulate, closing the consulate in Narva and the office in Tartu. From 2000 to 2021, Estonia expelled 10 people.

Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium also announced mass expulsions. The Netherlands demanded the expulsion of 17 Russian diplomats, twice the total of the last 20 years (8 people in 2000-2021). Belgium only once expelled a Russian diplomat— in 2018 because of the Skripal case. On March 23, 2022, the country's Foreign Ministry announced that it was expelling 21 diplomats. Denmark expelled Russian diplomats twice from 2000 to 2021. On April 5, the Danish Foreign Minister announced the decision to expel 15 Russian diplomats, explaining this by a desire to ensure the country's security.

Other countries also announced deportations. On April 4, Lithuania and Latvia lowered the level of diplomatic relations with Russia. The decision of Lithuania implies the recall of the ambassador from Russia, the order for the Russian ambassador to leave Lithuania, as well as the closure of the Russian Consulate General. On April 5, the Latvian Foreign Ministry decided to close the Russian Consulates General in Daugavpils and Liepaja and expel 13 diplomats.

The European Union also announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats. On April 5, the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, announced the expulsion of “a certain number” of diplomats from the Permanent Mission of Russia to the EU. According to Bloomberg, we are talking about 19 employees whose activities “contradict their diplomatic status.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced retaliatory measures, but so far it is known about the expulsion of 15 diplomats: one each from the United States and Montenegro, three each from Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia, and four people from Lithuania. On March 23, the agency also handed a note to the US embassy with a list of American employees being expelled, but their number was not named. The move was a response to the expulsion by Washington of 12 employees of the permanent mission to the UN.

5 large-scale diplomatic expulsions

In March 2001 The United States expelled 50 Russian diplomats “for activities incompatible with diplomatic status. The American authorities suspected some of the embassy staff of links with Robert Hanssen— an FBI agent who worked for Soviet and Russian intelligence services for many years. Moscow responded to this expulsion in a mirror image.

In the beginning December 2013U.S. authorities accused Russian embassy officials of fraudulent medical insurance. It was alleged that they illegally received insurance compensation for a total of $ 1.5 million. In total, 49 Russians went home. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov admitted the guilt of some diplomats. There was no retaliatory expulsion.

December 2016The United States decided to expel 35 Russian diplomats from the country. In Washington, they were suspected of having links with intelligence. Moscow responded a few months later by proposing to reduce the number of diplomatic and technical staff at the US embassy and consulates by 755 people at once.

In March 201822 countries decided to expel Russian diplomats as a sign solidarity with the UK in connection with the Skripal case. Great Britain expelled 23 people, USA— 60, EU countries— 33. Canada, Albania, Macedonia, Norway and Ukraine also joined. Russia responded by expelling 130 diplomats.

In April 2021,about 30 people were expelled from European countries after accusing Moscow of being involved in explosions at weapons depots in the Czech Republic. In addition, the US announced the expulsion of ten Russian diplomats as part of a new package of sanctions. Russia acted in a similar way, demanding the departure of the press secretary of the American embassy in Moscow, among other things. Subscribe to RuTube RBC Live broadcasts, videos and recordings of programs on our RuTube channel


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