The German Goethe Cultural Center in Russia, known as the Goethe-Institut, has had its accounts blocked. This was told to The Insider by two sources familiar with the situation.
According to sources, those who paid for the courses are being refunded by banks. “On Thursday and Friday, exams were held at the Goethe-Institut and students wrote letters of guarantee that they would pay as soon as the opportunity arose,” said one of the interlocutors. According to him, the staff of the institute "was strictly forbidden to talk about it."
“There are no details yet. We were informed that the leadership of the institute, together with the embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are considering the possibilities of solving the problem with the Goethe-Institut in Russia. No answers have been received from the Central Bank regarding this issue, ”said the second source.
At the same time, according to the interlocutor, all employees of the institute continue to work. “Everyone is very depressed, the specific reason is unknown, but read the statement of Maria Zakharova about the Russian House in Berlin,” the source said.
The Goethe-Institut is a cultural institution of the Federal Republic of Germany, with branches in many countries around the world. In Russia, he not only conducts German language courses, he is also accredited by the embassy to conduct visa examinations. Goethe-Institut centers operate in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk.
On January 27, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia would take retaliatory measures if Germany did not stop its actions to restrict the activities of the Russian House of Science and Art in Berlin (RDNK).
“The German side must understand that if the situation around the Russian House of Science and Art in Berlin does not normalize, then retaliatory measures against the branches of the Goethe Institute in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk will not be long in coming,” the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.
Zakharova recalled that in December 2022, Germany froze the accounts of the Russian House of Science and Art in Berlin. “On January 20, it became known about the initiation of a certain check by the prosecutor's office of Berlin. Thus, the German side grossly violates the provisions of the agreement between the government of the Russian Federation and the government of the Federal Republic of Germany on the activities of cultural and information centers,” she said.
The Berlin prosecutor's office began checking the RDNK, better known as the "Russian House", for compliance with the Law on Foreign Trade and Payments during the period of sanctions restrictions. Prior to this, the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation revealed numerous financial violations in the RDNK. Formally, this organization is designed to promote cultural interaction between countries, but de facto it has become one of the instruments of hybrid warfare, ideological propaganda and political interference in the affairs of Germany. At the same time, RDNK employees often act through the hands of criminals. For example, Russia House paid for a visit to Russia by German citizen Maxim Schlund, who in September last year was one of the organizers of a mass rally in Cologne in support of the Kremlin's policy. As The Insider found out , the German Schlund turned out to be the previously convicted Russian Rostislav Teslyuk.