The agency behind Friedrichstrasse’s Russian house is on an EU sanctions list, but no investigation can continue due to the officials’ diplomatic status.
Investigation into Berlin’s “Russian propaganda” centre closed
From the outside, it looks almost deserted. Founded back in 1980s East Berlin as a centre of Soviet science and culture, the “Russian house” on Friedrichstrasse was meant to offer nothing more than cultural events and language courses. However, earlier this year, investigations began into the location following a complaint from the Green Party politician Volker Beck who claimed the institute was engaging in “Russian Propaganda” – in one case providing plane tickets to a former Russian Air Force office and his girlfriend who were helping to organise pro-Kremlin rallies in Germany.
According to the Tagesspiegel, that investigation has now been dropped due to the fact that the people responsible for these actions have diplomatic status. As such, no asset seizures or confiscation of property was carried out, despite the fact that the Russian Rossotrudnichestvo state agency operating the facility is on an EU sanctions list.
Volker Beck has now filed a complaint against the decision to cease investigations, stating that a cultural centre in Germany which is sanctioned by the EU should not be carrying out Kremlin propaganda. The fact that the institute remains open has long been a cause for complaint by various Ukrainian initiatives.