Foreign Affairs: Dutch Cabinet Resignations and Russian Arrests

In the United States’ fiery political climate it is often easy for Americans to overlook what is occurring outside the country. On this issue, the Dutch cabinet resigns in light of a scandal, and Russia arrests the leader of the opposition party of Putin.

 

On January 15th, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, and his entire cabinet resigned after a report was published showing that thousands of families were financially damaged by abusive tax inspectors. Dutch tax collection agencies penalized countless families for so much as missing a signature or other minor errors, jeopardizing their livelihoods through jail or enormous fines. Child care benefits paid to families by the Dutch government were repossessed by the tax collectors. A report harshly criticizing the parliament’s failure to protect these families caused a massive uproar, leading to the resignation of the Dutch cabinet and the third term serving Prime Minister. His party is currently leading in the polls for the next election, and Rutte and his cabinet may end up winning and reclaiming their seats after the elections conclude.

 

Aleksei Navalny, the most popular opposition leader against Putin’s political party, returned to Moscow, Russia, for the first time since his five month stay in Germany. He was recuperating from a failed assassination attempt involving a military grade nerve toxin, allegedly by the Russian Government. When he returned to Russia to demonstrate his fearlessness, the airport he landed at was stormed by police officers in riot gear and black helmets. He was arrested, as well as dozens of spectators and Navalny’s associates, who were dining in an airport restaurant. Live news coverage filmed the event, and millions of viewers saw it happen. He was arrested under the terms of violating a suspended jail sentence grounded upon a financial crime in 2014. The crime and following trial, however, were later deemed “unwarranted” by the European Court of Human Rights.