Can Americans insist Ambassador Anatoly Antonov Answers His Telephone?

The Russian ambassador to the United States has been in the news this week. He has given an interview to Newsweek, and he published an article for ‘Foreign Policy’ called, “An Existential Threat to Europe’s Security Architecture?” Anatoly Antonov was born in Omsk, Russia and he attended Moscow State University. The Russian embassy is located near the Naval Observatory at 2650 Wisconsin Ave NW, but there is also a Russian consulate near the White House at 1025 Vermont Ave NW. Both buildings are in the District of Columbia, which is the only federal district in the United States.

Maria Zakharova is the Russian press secretary, and her office is in Moscow. Formally, her title is the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The Russian news has been reporting about Ms. Zakharova in the context of Kazakhstan. TASS Russian News Agency reported a statement that Ambassador Antonov made, “Russia views the externally provoked violent developments in the friendly country as aimed to disrupt its security and integrity. We will assist efforts to restore normal life in Kazakhstan”. Ms. Zakharova was quoted by TASS also, “Everyone is accustomed to the fact that some representatives of Washington do not understand everything, passing it off a position of the United States.”

Marko Djuric is the Serbian ambassador to Washington, DC. He attended the University of Belgrade School of Law. His wife is named Adrijana and they have three children. The Serbian embassy is located in Georgetown at 2233 Wisconsin Ave NW. The building is closest to the DuPont Circle metro station.

There are accounts about both the Embassy of Russia and the Embassy of Serbia. Each of the diplomats has a Twitter account. The Russian embassy uses the Twitter account, @RusEmbUSA, and the Serbian embassy uses @markodjuric. One problem might be that they both use social media accounts, but neither of them respond to telephone calls or emails.

Remarkably, this reminds of historical precedents about the American embassy in Moscow. Michael McFaul used a Twitter account when he was the ambassador and there were complaints at the time about his Tweets. Also, sometimes members of the American intelligence community in Moscow are asked to leave. Ryan Fogle was asked to leave Moscow after he was caught trying to bribe a Russian official. Edward Snowden flew to Moscow after he left his NSA post.

Maybe there should not be two Russian embassies in Washington, DC, or an embassy and a consulate. Also, maybe the diplomats should not bring over their wives and children. If there is a diplomat at an embassy in Washington, DC, is his or her staff required to respond to telephone calls and emails? What if there are complaints that these embassies are nonresponsive when people call or write?

The embassies in Washington, DC are policed by what is called the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. However, if a citizen of Washington, DC calls and tries to get in touch with either the Russian or Serbian diplomatic staff and there is no answer when the phone rings, then it is difficult to report this as misconduct. It seems to be misconduct if government officials are nonresponsive. Holistically, it seems as though Anatoly Antonov and Marko Djuric maintain social media accounts. They might not also answer the telephone and respond to emails. This seems difficult to regulate. How can the Americans insist that Marko Djuric responds to telephone inquiries? This all speaks to how it is difficult to regulate diplomatic personnel. That is true in Washington, DC, as well as in any city.

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