Switzerland's relations with Russia are currently being put to the test against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine. The Federal Council has unequivocally condemned Russia's actions in Ukraine and has joined the EU in implementing sanctions. The Federal Council's policy reflects Switzerland's position of permanent neutrality and the conviction that a firm commitment to the principles of the UN Charter is in Switzerland's interest.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Russia
Current status of diplomatic relations
In the wake of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, Switzerland adopted the EU's sanctions against Russia. Switzerland nevertheless remains in dialogue with Russia, for example in connection with Switzerland's term on the UN Security Council.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the G20, and as a stakeholder in a number of regional and international conflicts, Russia is a major international player. Switzerland is involved in numerous peace processes in which Russia plays a role in discussions as a key foreign power. Switzerland also provides good offices to Russia. Since March 2009 – following the breakdown of diplomatic relations between Russia and Georgia in 2008 – Switzerland has represented Russia's interests in Tbilisi and Georgia's interests in Moscow
For more information on Switzerland's position in relation to the Russian Federation's war on Ukraine, please visit the Ukraine webpage.
Peacebuilding and human security
Switzerland and Russia regularly exchange views on peacebuilding issues and international law.
At the multilateral level, cooperation takes place within the framework of international organisations, especially the UN Security Council and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Russia has a great cultural heritage and a very lively and diverse cultural sector. The Swiss embassy supports a wide range of cultural exchanges throughout Russia, especially those that promote Switzerland's national languages in the country. It also provides interested parties in Russia with information on Swiss culture.
Swiss citizens in Russia
At the end of 2022, there were 731 Swiss nationals living in Russia, the majority of them in the greater Moscow area, followed by St Petersburg. In addition to the Swiss embassy in Moscow, there is a consulate general in St Petersburg and an honorary consulate in Novosibirsk.
Since November 2016, there has also been a regional consular centre attached to the embassy, offering all the necessary consular services and providing consular protection to Swiss citizens travelling in Russia, Uzbekistan and Belarus.
History of bilateral relations
After the Napoleonic Wars (1792–1815), Russia supported Switzerland's re-emergence as an independent and neutral state. In 1814, Tsar Alexander I appointed Russia's first envoy to the Swiss Diet. Diplomatic relations with Moscow were broken off in 1923 following the Russian Revolution and restored in 1946 after the Second World War. Since the signing of the memorandum of understanding in 2007 Swiss–Russian relations had become considerably closer. However, the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea by Russia in 2014, which violated international law, and the publicised cyber and espionage attacks by Russian intelligence services on Swiss institutions in 2018 led to a cooling of ties. Russia's military aggression against Ukraine in February 2022 has put a further strain on bilateral relations.