Comment by the Information and Press Department on the denial of entry into Baltic states for Russian journalists

Submitted on Mon, 09/14/2015 - 22:00

We regret to witness the European Union’s frequent, if not daily, violations of the freedom of expression, which are motivated by political ambition despite constant statements by the union on its commitment to this fundamental principle. The leadership of the neighbouring Baltic countries, unable to keep the media under their control by other means, seems to have adopted a tactic of preventing specific journalists or media that do not conform to the media mainstream approved from above from carrying out their work.

In this vein, Marina Perekrestova, head of the Multimedia Directorate at Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency, has been stopped at the Tallinn airport and denied entry into Estonia, where she was headed to make arrangements for the agency’s representative office. No clear explanation of this decision was provided, while all the required authorisations and approvals for the news agency’s activities in Estonia had been obtained.

A similar incident occurred in Lithuania, where authorities suddenly designated Galina Sapozhnikova, a reporter for the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, a “persona non grata and threat to national security.”

Preventing Rossiya Segodnya from opening a representative office in Latvia seems to fall in the same category.

In other words, the Baltic states have clearly coordinated their strategy. For them, any person related to the Russian media in one way or another is automatically viewed as a foe who should be persecuted.

These cases are illustrative of the fact that the statements by Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn on their commitment to democratic principles and the freedom of speech are empty and worthless. Of course, Russia won’t fail to take note of these unfriendly actions in its bilateral relations.

15 September 2015