On February 24, Latvia did not grant Andrey Zakharov, a Russian publisher of Izvestia a permit to enter Riga airport. He had come to the Baltic nations to produce a video story on the topic of the 75th anniversary of World War II (according to other sources; the expansion of the Daugavpils military base). It turned out that Zakharov has a three year ban (other sources say a five-year ban) from getting a Schengen visa, which was initiated by Estonian authorities.
This weekend, Estonia received a lot of media attention in the Russian media in connection with the Zakharov case. The Russian Foreign Ministry called on the OSCE to give its assessment, the Russian Federation of Journalists and a number of security commentators-political scientists commented. Estonia has been accused of harassing freedom of speech and of the press; including neo-fascism in some articles as well as in some articles it says the ban is due to Zakharov’s nationality. Links to all of the stories can be found on the Propamon monitoring robot webpage
Numerous tweets talked about the picket in Moscow in the same week in support of the Sputnik propaganda channel, consequently concentrating on a larger attack. It is part of the punitive action which the Kremlin had threatened due to the curtailing of Sputnik activities. The attack is not over yet and promises to one of the bigger ones in recent times.
An interesting detail in the case of Zakharov is the thorough explanation of the refusal of access, given by the Izvestija editorial board. Whether in a document prepared by the Estonian Ministry of the Interior or the Security Police (different articles refer to it differently), it is surprisingly straightforward, and stating that Zakharov’s work is part of Russia’s hostile influencing activities, not the independent press. The ban is directly motivated by Zakharov’s video stories of September 5, 2019 on the St. Petersburg TV channel. One of them is the „Liberation of Tallinn“ and the other is LGTB themed (links to the stories are provided by Propastop). It is mentioned that the refusal of access is set as a preventative security measure and is added that the aim of the Russian disintegration is to restore the Russian empire / Soviet Union within its former borders and this goal cannot be achieved without the loss of independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Estonia.
Propastop has not been able to find any references from the Estonian media or the Ministry of the Interior’s homepage about the existence of such an open explanation letter or of it having been sent to Russia.
Here you can read about previous propaganda incidents involving 5TV and Izvestija channels.
Pictures: Screenshots of articles related to the incident