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Austrian police officers stationed at the Russian Embassy during the presidential election were reportedly given presents as they left. After the voting ended, several officers were seen leaving with gift bags bearing the Russian emblem. The police confirmed the receipt of gifts and stated that they were instructed to refuse such gestures in the future. Receiving low-value items such as calendars and boxes of chocolates from the Russians did not violate Austrian civil service laws, but it did create an undesirable impression that was not in line with the professionalism of the officers on duty.

The Vienna police department reiterated that officers were told to reject any future gifts from the embassy in a friendly but firm manner, regardless of their value. The incident occurred on the last day of the highly orchestrated presidential election that secured Vladimir Putin another six-year term. Prior to the voting, the Austrian government had expelled two diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Vienna, citing espionage activities. Vienna police were responsible for protecting the embassy on the day of the election, and officers were in contact with embassy employees and occasionally entered the building.

Reports indicated that after the last voters left the embassy, several police officers were seen exiting the building with gift bags. Some officers claimed they were only entering the building to use the restrooms. The incident raised concerns about the perception of impartiality and professionalism of the officers on duty. It was seen as a breach of protocol, prompting the police department to clarify their position on accepting gifts from foreign entities, especially in sensitive diplomatic contexts like an election.

Despite not violating any laws, the exchange of gifts between the Russian Embassy and Austrian police officers was deemed inappropriate and unprofessional. The police department emphasized the need for officers to maintain a strict boundary between their responsibilities and any external influences, especially during such a high-profile event. The incident sparked discussions about the integrity and impartiality of law enforcement personnel, particularly when dealing with diplomatic missions from foreign countries.

Following the incident, the Vienna police department issued a statement reiterating their stance on refusing gifts from the Russian Embassy or any other foreign entity. The department stressed the importance of upholding professionalism and impartiality, especially when providing security for diplomatic events. The incident served as a reminder to law enforcement officers about the need to adhere to strict ethical standards in all interactions with external parties, regardless of the circumstances.

In conclusion, the exchange of gifts between the Russian Embassy and Austrian police officers during the presidential election raised concerns about the professionalism and impartiality of law enforcement personnel. While no laws were broken, the incident prompted the police department to remind officers of the importance of maintaining integrity and independence in their roles. By instructing officers to refuse any future gifts from foreign entities, the department aimed to uphold the credibility and reputation of the police force while providing security for sensitive diplomatic events.

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