A 20-year veteran of the Russian diplomatic service announced his resignation on Monday in protest at his country’s war on Ukraine, multiple media reported.
In a rare public display by a Russian official, Boris Bondarev, a diplomat assigned to the Russian mission to the United Nations in Geneva, issued a statement on a LinkedIn account condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and criticizing the Russian Foreign Ministry for its complicity in what it described as “aggressive warfare” – language that is banned in Russia under wartime censorship laws.
“During twenty years of my diplomatic career, I have seen different turning points in our foreign policy, but never have I been so ashamed of my country as on February 24 of this year,” Bondarev wrote, referring to the decision. Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine. . “The war of aggression unleashed by Putin against Ukraine, and indeed against the entire Western world, is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the Russian people, with a bold letter Z crossing all hopes and prospects for a free and prosperous society in our country.”
Respected Russian business newspaper Kommersant contacted Bondarev, who confirmed the authenticity of the message. The New York Times confirmed receipt of a resignation emailed to diplomats in Geneva.
The Russian mission to the UN in Geneva declined to comment on the case to CNN, and Bondarev did not respond to messages sent to the LinkedIn account.
The LinkedIn post blasted Russian leaders for corruption, saying: “Those who engineered this war want only one thing: to stay in power forever, to live in pompous and tasteless palaces, to sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and in cost for the entire Russian Navy, enjoy unlimited power and total impunity. To achieve this, they are ready to sacrifice as many lives as it takes. Thousands of Russians and Ukrainians have already died just for that.
He also pointed the finger at the Russian Foreign Ministry for harsh criticism.
“I regret to admit that over these twenty years the level of lies and lack of professionalism in the work of the Foreign Office has steadily increased. However, in recent years it has become all simply catastrophic. Instead of unbiased news, unbiased analysis and sober forecasts, there are propaganda cliches in the minds of 1930s Soviet newspapers,” the post read.
“Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy. It is about warmongering, lies and hatred. It serves the interests of the few, with the very few thus contributing to more isolation and degradation of my country. Russia has no more allies, and there is no one to blame but its reckless and ill-conceived policy,” the message continued.
The LinkedIn profile describes Bondarev as a veteran of the Russian diplomatic service, with expertise in arms control and non-proliferation. The photo on the profile now has the hashtag #opentowork.
The US State Department said on Monday that Bondarev’s resignation shows that “despite the Kremlin’s propaganda, there are Russians who deeply disagree with what President Putin is doing in Ukraine and share our concern about the danger that ‘he creates for the whole world community’.
A State Department spokesperson said it was encouraging that “many are prepared to oppose” Putin and noted that “it takes immense bravery to stand up to an oppressor, and it takes courage to speak truth to power, especially given the long tenure of the Russian government and terrible track record of attempts to silence legitimate and peaceful protest and dissent.
“The drop in morale is clearly not limited to Russian military forces fighting in Ukraine,” they said.
“Boris Bondarev’s statement underscores that people around the world, including in Russia and even within the Russian government, recognize the brutality of the Kremlin’s assault on the Ukrainian people,” the spokesperson said. “They are doing this despite the Kremlin’s best efforts to manufacture and perpetuate disinformation.”