Ex-Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Advocates Killing Ambassadors

A former children’s rights commissioner for Russia said during a recent broadcast of Russian state TV that murdering ambassadors is “within the framework of international law.”

Pavel Astakhov, the children’s ombudsman from 2009-2016, made the comment on a television program hosted by Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov while making a reference to Poland’s ambassador to Russia.

Poland is frequently the target of inflammatory rhetoric on Kremlin-backed media outlets due to the NATO country being one Kyiv’s strongest allies in the war that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched on Ukraine in February 2022. Along with taking in many Ukrainians displaced by the war, Poland has supplied Ukraine with large supplies of munitions, including powerful Leopard 2 tanks.

Russian Advocates for Murdering Ambassadors
The Kremlin’s children’s rights envoy Pavel Astakhov speaks during a press conference in Moscow, on February 28, 2013. During a recent interview on Vladimir Solovyov’s show Astakhov said he believes murdering ambassadors is not a war crime.

Julia Davis on Sunday shared a translated clip of Astakhov’s television appearance on her Russian Media Monitor YouTube account.

During the appearance, Astakhov brought up how protesters in Poland who opposed Russia’s war in Ukraine poured red paint over Russia’s ambassador to Poland, Sergei Andreyev, while he was visiting the Soviet Military Cemetery in Warsaw last year.

Astakhov then said he wonders why the Polish ambassador to Russia has yet to be “found floating in the Moskva River” after Andreyev was doused in paint, according to Davis’ translation.

Astakhov said he believes “retaliatory measures for unfriendly actions” is not a crime and part of the nature of war.

Astakhov resigned from his role as Children’s Rights Commissioner in 2016 after public outcry over his comments on 14 children who died in a shipwreck, according to the Kyiv Post.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry via email for comment.

While Astakhov’s comments were mostly condemned on social media, many also said they weren’t surprised to hear such remarks from a former Russian official.

“The whole theme of the Russian approach to the Ukraine war seems to be, ‘We’re the good guys here. Sure, there are mass graves found in every city we occupied and then retreated from. But don’t make us get nasty,'” Thomas E. Ricks, an author who frequently covers the military and national security issues, wrote on Twitter about Astakhov’s remarks on murdering envoys.

Along with featuring guests who have often expressed ant-Ukrainian sentiments, Solovyov himself has also made headlines for making controversial statements.

Earlier this month, Solovyov called for destroying Kyiv as well as the capitals of Poland and Germany. Weeks before, he unleashed a rant on his radio show Polniy Kontakt (Full Contact) about “screwed up pacifists in Russia” who oppose the country deploying nuclear weapons.

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