Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova first announced the blocking of bank accounts of the German Goethe Cultural Center in Russia, known as the Goethe-Institut, in fact admitting that Moscow was blackmailing Germany after restricting the activities of the Russian House of Science and Art in Berlin (RDNK), known as the Russian house. Her statement was published on the ministry's website on the evening of 3 April.
She answered the question of whether the accounts of the Goethe-Institut are indeed blocked in the Russian Federation ( this was previously reported by The Insider sources ), and under what conditions is unblocking possible in the future?
According to Zakharova, the restrictions on the branches of the Goethe Institute in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk are “a proportionate response to the blocking by the German authorities in December 2022 of the bank accounts of the Russian House of Science and Culture in Berlin (RDNK).” She added that Moscow had warned of "the inevitability of such actions", but in Berlin chose to ignore Russia's "unequivocal warnings".
“Under the current conditions, the bank accounts of the Goethe Institute in Russia could be unblocked only after the complete and unconditional “unfreezing” of the bank accounts of the RDNK,” Zakharova emphasized.
On March 29, The Insider reported , citing two sources, that the German Goethe Cultural Center in Russia, known as the Goethe-Institut, had their accounts blocked, and those who paid for the courses were being refunded by banks. According to the interlocutor, students wrote letters of guarantee stating that they undertake to pay for tuition as soon as such an opportunity arises.
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.
Zakharova said that the Russian Federation 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), known as the Russian House. In December 2022, Germany froze the accounts of the Russian House of Science and Art in Berlin. The Berlin prosecutor's office has begun checking the RDNK 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, the organization is designed to promote cultural interaction between countries, but 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, the Russian 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.