Russia, expelled from the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2022, seeks to rejoin the Geneva-based body, defying Western nations’ efforts to isolate the country over its invasion of Ukraine.
Several U.N. diplomats and analysts suggest that Russia aims to leverage its control over wartime grain shipments and arms and energy sales to gain support in a secret vote scheduled for Oct. 10. Alongside Russia, Albania and Bulgaria are competing for two seats representing eastern Europe.
Hillel Neuer, the executive director of U.N. Watch, a nonprofit organization monitoring the U.N., said in a comment to the Wall Street Journal that while some countries might hesitate to publicly vote for Russia, the promise of grain, arms, and oil could influence their decision.
Russian diplomats, on the other hand, accuse the United States of unfairly backing Albania and assert that the U.S. is exerting pressure in Africa to secure votes for the Balkan nation.
Alexander Pchelyakov, a spokesperson for the Russian mission in Geneva, dismisses allegations that Russia is using weapons and grain sales as leverage in the vote, describing them as a "feeble attempt at propaganda aimed at discrediting Russia among left-wing readers."