The Government issued a decree announcing that the Argentine ambassador to Russia, Pablo Tettamanti, will be removed from his post and transferred back to Argentina yesterday. Tettamanti was named Russian ambassador in 2014 by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and had previously held similar diplomatic roles in the United States and Great Britain. The diplomat, two months shy of three years in the role, was the son of Leopoldo Tettamanti, who took up the same position in 1976 under Isabel Perón’s government.
The decree, circulated via the government’s Official Bulletin, is a poker-faced and concise little document, which doesn’t account for the widespread controversy and speculation it has generated. As far as we know, and as far as the decree explicates, Tettamanti was removed for ‘reasons of service’.
The department of foreign affairs ‘intervened according to its responsibilities’, the decree states. Yet various media outlets seem convinced that the removal from his post is a direct result of Tettamanti’s wife’s politically-riled Facebook statuses, expressing her defiant support of Kirchnerism, and indirect criticism of Macri’s Cambiemos administration.
Is there a link?
The public has virtually no concrete evidence of the connection between Tettamanti’s removal and Elida de Bianchetti’s Facebook activity and, what’s more, she is adamant in a recent post that her ‘wall is not furiously anti Cambiemos, as ‘Clarin and Página 12 have branded [her]’, but merely a place where she seeks to promote values of ‘memory, truth and justice’.
On the other hand, the speculation is perhaps spurred on by the quick succession between this event and foreign minister Malcorra’s call for greater moderation on social networks. Biancetti’s post, though perhaps not explicitly anti-Macri, is hardly uncritical. Biancetti states that if she were to criticize “Macri’s government, it is because they fail to do what” she “believes is correct, just and honest.” The post also addresses the people who hacked her personal hotmail account, promising to regain control of her email, whether that means sending “smoke signals, violent rants or a simple letter via Correo Argentino” – which some in the media have interpreted as a poorly disguised dig at Macri’s implication in the company’s ongoing Correo Argentino controversy.
In a 2015 interview, Tettamanti stated that it was one of the ‘best moments in the 130 years of relations’ between Argentina and Russia. Russian Foreign Minister Serguéi Lavróv spoke, at the same time, of the ‘great potential‘ of both countries to expand relations to benefit their own towns and cities.
Many members of the public have themselves taken to social media to express their ‘solidarity’, with the Tettamantis.