Dutch diplomat beaten in Moscow flat in tit-for-tat attack - with 'LGBT' written on mirror

Assailants’ motive may be gay rights issues after drawing of a heart was found at the scene

Moscow

A Dutch diplomat has been beaten by two men in his Moscow flat, further straining relations after police in the Netherlands detained and allegedly beat a Russian diplomat this month.

Citing a law enforcement source, state news agency RIA Novosti reported that an aide to the Dutch ambassador had told police that unknown attackers beat him and left behind a drawing of a heart containing the letters “LGBT” (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender). Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans then wrote on his Facebook page, confirming that the diplomat had been attacked and “slightly injured” by intruders in his home and was now recovering. He also said he had summoned the Russian ambassador for an explanation.

The Russian Foreign Ministry identified the diplomat as Onno Elderenbosch, the Dutch deputy chief of mission at the Moscow embassy. In a statement later that day, it said foreign minister Sergei Lavrov had called Mr Timmermans to assure him that “competent Russian agencies” were investigating the attack.

The Investigative Committee had previously said it was investigating the incident. Russian news reports said the attackers were disguised as electricians who came to check the fuse box, forcing their way in when Mr Elderenbosch opened the door.

In response to Tuesday’s attack, Dutch politicians have clamoured for King Willem-Alexander to cancel a planned visit to Russia next month.

Tensions between Russia and the Netherlands flared after Dmitry Borodin, the Russian embassy’s second-ranking diplomat, said he was beaten by police at his home in The Hague on 5 October and briefly detained. President Vladimir Putin demanded an apology, which was soon offered by Mr Timmermans, who nonetheless said he “understands” the police’s actions. Dutch media reported the police were responding to complaints from his neighbours that Mr Borodin was drunk and abusing his children.

Mr Borodin’s arrest sparked a protest outside the Dutch embassy in Moscow led by nationalist Duma deputy Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Meanwhile, Russia’s food safety watchdog, which in the past has wielded import bans as a form of political pressure, threatened last week to ban imports of Dutch dairy products and tulips.

The burgeoning diplomatic row takes place during the Russian prosecution of 30 people from Dutch-registered Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, including two Dutch citizens, on piracy charges. The Netherlands brought legal proceedings against Russia under United Nations maritime law earlier this month.

The LGBT heart allegedly left by the attackers also seemed designed to raise tensions over gay rights. Moscow gay activist Nikolai Alexeyev said the beating was a “mockery” of the Netherlands and its liberal attitude towards sexual minorities.

Four Dutch filmmakers making a documentary about gay rights were detained in Murmansk this summer and deported.

The souring of relations comes during the Netherlands-Russia Year 2013, a series of events meant to celebrate the ties between the two countries.

Navalny barred from elections

A Russian court has upheld opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s embezzlement conviction, barring the street protest leader from running in elections. He was, however, spared jail time by the court, which suspended his five-year sentence.

Navalny had indicated he would like to stand in the Moscow City Duma elections next year. The anti-corruption blogger said he would appeal the decision.

In July, Navalny was convicted of embezzling timber worth 16m rubles (£310,000) from a state timber company in the Kirov region. In an unusual move, he was then released pending an appeal and allowed to run for mayor in Moscow, where he exceeded expectations to receive 27 per cent of the vote last month. Some have speculated that this show of support prevented the regime from imprisoning him.

In typically brash remarks after the verdict, Navalny promised to continue his political activities, posting on Facebook that he would not “shy away from every protest for fear of a violation that will turn the suspended sentence into prison time.”

Alec Luhn

News
newsVideo targets undecided voters
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
News
Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, dropped out of Stanford University just before graduation to develop his app
techAnd yes, it is quite a lot
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Retail Business Architect

Flexible for the right candidate: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: I have a fa...

Calypso Developer

£500 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: Calypso Developer Calypso, J2SE, XML, ...

IT Developer/Analyst

£35000 - £36000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A market leading financia...

Pricing Manager, Finance, Edinburgh, £250-350p/d

£250 - £350 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is cur...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis