The Russian diplomat expelled from Latvia on Jan. 21 is embassy official Second Secretary Alexander Rogozhin, the Constitution Protection Bureau (Satversmes aizsardzības birojs) confirmed to Latvian media Jan. 24.
Latvia expelled the Russian diplomat for being a threat to national security, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Jan. 21. The name and position of the embassy official were not immediately released to give him time to leave the country, as is customary. Rogozhin’s name remained on the embassy’s Web site at the end of the business day Jan. 24.
Latvian State Television, citing unofficial sources, incorrectly reported Jan. 21 that the diplomat was First Secretary Sergejs Toropovs.
Latvian officials now are awaiting whether and how Russia will respond. Russia said it reserves “the right to take adequate measures” in response to the expulsion, a Russian Foreign Ministry source told the official ITAR-TASS news agency in Moscow.
In 2004, Latvia expelled the Russian embassy’s Second Secretary Piotr Urzhumov, who was accused of trying to gain information about the NATO defense alliance’s presence in Latvia. In response, Russia expelled Latvian First Secretary Juris Poikāns.
The latest expulsion comes at the end of Russian Ambassador Viktor Kalyuzhny’s term in Rīga. Appointed in 2004, Kalyuzhny will be replaced by Aleksandr Veshnyakov, former head of Russia’s Central Elections Commission.
The expulsion also came just weeks after rumors flew in the Rīga media that the government in late December had kicked out another Russian diplomat. At the time, TV3 incorrectly reported that embassy First Secretary Vyacheslav Yefremov had been expelled. However, Yefremov left on his own because his work contract had expired.
Then reports emerged that another first secretary in the Russian embassy, Anatoly Kogalov, had surfaced on the Schengen Treaty zone’s “black list.” Latvia joined the Schengen zone on Dec. 21, meaning that Latvian citizens can travel passport-free throughout most of Europe.
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