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Seeing Red: Dutch King pelted with tomatoes during visit to Moscow

Published time: November 09, 2013 23:07
Edited time: November 10, 2013 10:52

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands (2-L) and Queen Maxima (RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Belousov)

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A couple of Russian activists pelted King of the Netherlands with rotten tomatoes during his visit to the Moscow Conservatory. The instigators of the attack were detained despite the fruits falling short of their illustrious targets.

The two attackers were members of a banned Russian opposition party who allegedly performed the stunt in protest over the death of Russian Opposition activist Aleksandr Dolmatov who committed suicide while in a Rotterdam deportation center earlier this year.

“Dolmatov's blood is on your hands!”
the National Bolshevik Party activists shouted at the Dutch King, according to eyewitnesses.

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and his wife were not harmed, as the projectiles fell nowhere near them, and carried on with their official engagements.

The attackers, Viktoria Kuznetsova and Denis Kudryavtsev, according to reports, were quickly detained and escorted away in a police van to Krasnopresnenskaya’s police station, according to Other Russia party leader, Sergey Aksenov. The unregistered National Bolshevik Party was banned in Russia for extremist ideas, and its organizers created the Other Russia Party from its ashes in 2010.

Opposition activist Aleksandr Dolmatov applied for political asylum in the Netherlands after fleeing to the country. The Dutch authorities rejected the request, and placed him in a Rotterdam detention center while he awaited return to Russia. He was found dead in January this year, having killed himself in his cell.

While in Russia, Dolmatov had been an active member of Other Russia and had been arrested after being accused of involvement in the Bolotnaya Square riots in Moscow on May 6, 2012. He was released, but left Russia in June fearing he would be arrested again. After his death, the Russian Foreign Ministry demanded an “immediate and full investigation of the incident.”

The Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife, Queen Maxima, have been rounding off a two-day visit to Russia to mark the 400th anniversary of Russian-Dutch relations as part of a “Year of Friendship” between the two countries.

While the visit has been overshadowed by recent diplomatic problems, discussions of issues, such as the detention of Greenpeace activists, would not be part of talks as the Dutch king does not involve himself in direct political negotiations, Putin’s aide, Yury Ushakov, told reporters. 

Wearing costume of a polar bear a Greenpeace activist holds a poster with pictures of the "Arctic 30" detained Greenpeace activists during a rally in their support (AFP Photo) 

On Wednesday, the Netherlands demanded that Russia free all 30 Arctic Sunrise activists, taking the case to an international tribunal. Russia has rejected participation in the process, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich saying that “Russia has counter complaints against The Hague in connection with this incident. The current situation has, to a significant extent, been caused by Dutch negligence.”

Lukashevich added that “it was known that the ship arrived in Russia’s economic zone with the intention of committing a crime,” he said.

The detention of Russian diplomat, Dmitry Borodin, in the Netherlands caused uproar in Russia, increasing tensions between Russia and the Netherlands even further. Borodin was arrested and beaten by local police in violation of his diplomatic immunity. The Dutch media suggested he was taken in over mistreatment of his children reported by neighbors. 

Borodin’s Dutch counterpart, Onno Elderenbosch, later was attacked in Moscow when people disguised as electricians broke into his house, beat him up, and daubed ‘LGBT’ across a mirror in red lipstick, according to media reports. The Dutch Foreign Minister claimed on Tuesday that “victims” of the Russian “anti-gay propaganda law” could receive political asylum in the Netherlands, fueling tensions.

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov and his counterpart in the Netherlands discussed the situation surrounding both the Greenpeace ship and recent incidents involving Russian and Dutch diplomats on Friday. A follow-up meeting on Saturday was rescheduled over Lavrov’s last minute decision to join the talks on Iran’s nuclear program in Geneva.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his satisfaction with the way talks with the King have proceeded up to this point, “in spite of some limitations in the diplomatic service.” The King also expressed his wish that “everything can be resolved in the spirit of friendship.”

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