The bear and the land of tulips
Tuesday, 15 October 2013 13:30

“THE Netherlands-Russia year 2013” could have passed pretty much unnoticed . Russia has a habit of declaring years to strengthen bilateral friendships culturally, socially and economically—and nothing much happens. Yet this particular year seems to be different thanks to a diplomatic soap opera.

First tensions emerged when the crew of a Greenpeace ship under a Dutch flag was arrested while trying to board a Gazprom drilling rig in the North Sea on September 19th. The 30 crew members were charged with piracy, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Last week, Russian authorities claimed they had found drugs on the boat. This could lead to a fresh charge. It remains unclear why it took three weeks to “find” the drugs even though the ship was thoroughly inspected on the crew’s arrest and had been searched by sniffer dogs in its last port. The Netherlands has begun an arbitration procedure under the Convention on Law of the Sea.

Things escalated further when Dmitri Borodin, the second in command at the Russian embassy in The Hague (pictured), was arrested in his home last week by Dutch police....Continue reading

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