International Round-Up: “What about all the animal brothels in Denmark?”

How a hoaxer duped a high-security Danish Parliament committee under the pretense she was Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

Members of Det Udenrigspolitiske Nævn, the Danish Parliament’s foreign policy committee, were recently duped into taking part in a virtual meeting with somebody pretending to be Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. 

The penny dropped that it might not be Tikhanovskaya when she brought up the topic of animal brothels. 

The person claiming to be Tikhanovskaya said she was unable to get her PC camera to work. 

Everything else had appeared to be in order in the build-up to the meeting. 

Out of the blue, the air turned blue
According to Venstre representative Michael Aastrup Jensen, the deputy chair of the committee, the meeting went normally for 25 minutes. Discussions mainly concerned the situation in Belarus.

“All of a sudden out of the blue, she asks what our attitude is to the many animal brothels that are in Denmark,” he told TV2. “Martin Lidegaard [the chair] and I looked at one another as if to say: ‘What in the world is this for’?”

However, the committee politely answered her questions and continued with the meeting for another 15 minutes. 

Lidegaard, a Radikale MP, was not amused. “I hope it was just a gross joke, but I’m obviously worried about whether the participation in the meeting will be abused. It also gives rise to food for thought,” he later said in a statement.

A major security breach
The incident represents a major security breach, particularly as the committee’s activities are normally surrounded in immense confidentiality. 

Participants in meetings are requested to leave their phones outside the door before attending.

Jensen maintains nothing was said at the virtual meeting that could compromise Danish foreign policy security, and an investigation has been launched into the breach.

The meeting took place on October 6, and it lasted for 40 minutes. 

Foreign minister to meet Russian counterpart in Moscow today
Jeppe Kofod, the foreign minister, is scheduled today to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow. The pair are expected to discuss bilateral relations
most particularly relating to security in the Baltic Sea and the Arctic. Kofod intends to bring up Russia’s violation of Danish airspace over Bornholm in August, which he says was “a clear reflection of how the increased Russian militarisation in the Baltic Sea and the Arctic unfortunately contributes to creating uncertainty and unpredictability”. Kofod is keen to build bridges. “Geographically, there is only the Baltic Sea between Denmark and Russia. But politically, on many issues such as Ukraine, Syria and international law, unfortunately, there is a really long way between us. Neighbours need to be able to talk to each other even on the difficult topics.” Kofod will also meet representatives of Russian civil society to discuss human rights in the country. 

Paludan confident of getting Swedish passport to continue his course
Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the far-right political party Stram Kurs, is confident of getting a Swedish passport so he can freely enter the country to raise awareness of how its immigration policy is a threat to the security of Denmark. His preferred method is to burn a few copies of the Koran. The Swedish authorities have this year barred him from entering the country – a ban that contravenes the country’s constitution, according to the lawyer. One of Paludan’s parents is Swedish and, according to Paludan, the Swedish migration board recognises this.


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