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Russia not elected to UNESCO Executive Board for the first time

by Martin Fornusek November 15, 2023 11:30 PM 2 min read
UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, on Oct. 11, 2017. (Chesnot/Getty Images)
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Russia was not elected to the UNESCO Executive Board during a Nov. 15 vote "for the first time in history," President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

"The era of Russian influence is over, and rightly so: Russian terrorists have no place at the head of significant international bodies," the president wrote on the social media platform X.

According to the voting results published on UNESCO's website, Serbia, Albania, Slovakia, and Czechia were elected for the Group II "Eastern Europe" of the Board. Prior to the most recent vote, Russia was among the countries represented in this group.

"Not a bad couple of weeks. First, Moscow was kicked out (of the) UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the elections in New York for the first time since its foundation; now, Moscow is thrown out of the UNESCO Executive Board, yet again for the first time in its history," said Ukraine's Permanent Representative in the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya.

Russia was ousted from a number of international bodies following its aggression against Ukraine, including the Council of Europe and the UN Human Rights Council. On Nov. 9, Russia's representative failed to be elected for the ICJ, losing to the Romanian representative.

Zelensky called on UNESCO last year to expel Russia in response to its attacks on Ukrainian cultural heritage.

The appeal was reiterated by the Ukrainian parliament this July in the wake of Russian attacks on Odesa's historic city center, a designated world heritage site. As of Nov. 2, 327 cultural sites have been damaged by Russian attacks on Ukraine, UNESCO said.

Anna Husarska: Expel Russia from UNESCO
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been particularly angry lately, and the Ukrainian port city of Odesa has been suffering the consequences. In the Kremlin’s neo-imperial view, Odesa has long been a symbol of the Russian character of Ukraine’s south, because its initial development was…
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