Recently, the U.S. government informed Congress that it would close the Consulate General in Vladivostok, Russia, and suspend the work of the Consulate General in Yekaterinburg.
Once the plan is implemented, the only embassy and consulate of the United States in Russia will remain in operation. Russian sources said on the 19th that this move was a political decision, indicating signs of the decline of bilateral relations.
The United States will close and suspend the last two consulates in Russia.
According to Russian media reports such as the Russian News Agency, Pashkov, a member of the Russian Federation Council (Upper House of Parliament), said through social networking websites on the 19th that the United States does have economic problems, but it is not enough to close the Consulate General.
This move is a political decision. The move of the United States shows signs of a decline in bilateral relations.
Slutsky, chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma (Lower House of Parliament), said on the same day that people have seen not only the closure of the United States Consulate General in Russia, but also the United States Department of State in the list of States in the enemy list of enemies.
Russian experts on international issues said that the move of the United States shows that the United States does not intend to engage in close diplomatic dialogue with Russia.
U.S. politicians and scholars have also criticized the move of closing or suspending the U.S. Consulate General in Russia, believing that the U.S. government’s move will weaken the sense of diplomatic presence of the United States in the Far East. Michael McFall, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, posted an article on social media on the 19th, criticizing the U.S.’s move to close the Consulate General in Russia.
McFall said that the United States should seek ways to strengthen direct contact with Russia, and the presence of these embassies and consulates can help. McFall said that the United States needs to strengthen public diplomacy, and American diplomats should maintain contact with the Russian people, the more the better.
Experts from the University of Denver in the United States said that there is a reason why the United States has established embassies and consulates in various countries, and that closing consulates will harm the interests of the United States and Americans.
The U.S. State Department submitted a notice to Congress on the 10th of this month to close the two consulates, which was reported by the U.S. media on the 18th. In a notice, the U.S. State Department said that the closure of the consulate was “to deal with the staffing problem of U.S.
diplomatic missions in Russia since Russia imposed a limit on the number of U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia in 2017″. In response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats by the United States and a series of sanctions against Russia, Russia asked the United States in 2017 to reduce the number of diplomats in Russia and equalize the number of diplomats between Russia and the United States.
Affected by the coronavirus epidemic, the work of the Consulate General in Vladivostok has been suspended before, and the work of the Consulate General in Yekaterinburg has been reduced since March. The Associated Press reported that the closure of the two consulates will leave the United States without diplomatic missions in the vast area of Russia east of Moscow, which will cause inconvenience to Americans in the Russian Far East to seek consular services and local Russians to apply for visas to the United States.
Many times to drive diplomats to each other, the diplomatic war between the United States and Russia continues.
In recent years, the relationship between the United States and Russia has been tense, and the two sides have repeatedly accused each other of “making trouble” their diplomatic personnel.
On June 17, 2016, the United States expelled two Russian officials for being attacked by Russian police in Moscow. On July 9, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that Russia expelled two American diplomats.
Russia said that the two expelled American diplomats were actually agents of the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
In July 2017, the U.S. Congress passed the Sanctions Bill against Russia and other three countries. Russia has since asked the United States to reduce the staff of its diplomatic missions in Russia by 755, so as to bring the number of Russian and American diplomatic missions in each other countries to a equivalent of 455.
In response, the U.S. State Department said on August 31 of the same year that the United States asked Russia to close the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco and diplomatic facilities in Washington and New York.
On March 26, 2018, the U.S. government announced the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomatic officials in the United States and demanded that the Russian consulate in Seattle be closed, citing the so-called “poisoning” incident of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer.
In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on March 29 that it would expel 60 U.S. diplomats in Russia and asked the U.S. side to close the U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg.
Analysts believe that in recent years, the United States and Russia have driven diplomats on such a scale and closed consulates unprecedented in the history of modern nation-state relations, but the differences and contradictions between the two countries are strategic and fundamental, and it is difficult to change for a moment.