Question: How could you comment on the European Union’s decision to deny entry to the EU to Oleg Bondarenko, Director of the Foundation of Progressive Politics, for a period of three years at the request of Warsaw?
Maria Zakharova: According to the latest information, Russian political scientist and journalist Oleg Bondarenko, who had arrived on January 14, 2018 in Berlin for an event organised by representatives of the Bundestag’s Left Party, was deported to Moscow that same evening. This was done under the November 17, 2017 request of Poland to deny him entry to Schengen Area countries. The ban is evidently explained by citing some kind of “national security threat.”
Based on available information, we have no other explanation for the Polish side’s behavior, which can only be interpreted as an attempt to restrict freedom of speech of a representative of Russian civil society on the territory of EU member-countries for political reasons, in violation of democratic principles in effect in this area.
We have demanded additional explanations from Polish authorities via diplomatic channels.