The Estonian interior ministry confirmed today that Giulietto Chiesa, a former communist and pro-Kremlin Italian member of the European Parliament, would be able to return to Estonia without restrictions as the previous entry ban will not be extended. He was sent out of the country in December for violating an entry ban.
The spokesperson of the ministry, Toomas Viks, said to ERR that the government decided not to extend the entry ban on Chiesa.
“Chiesa's aim is to be as provocative as possible and gain as much attention as possible. Reimposing an entry ban would give him a better option to do just that,” Viks said. Viks added that Chiesa wants to spread the Russian propaganda in Estonia and the Estonian government does not want to give him a better platform to succeed.
“Should he spread hate and hostility here, or compromise the Estonian law system, we reserve the right to impose an entry ban on him again,” Viks added.
Viks said that according to Estonian internal security agencies, the circumstances justifying the previous entry ban have not changed. “In this instance, the harm stemming from not allowing him to country was evaluated to be higher than allowing him to enter. Another entry ban would have resulted with a planned, hostile, international media show to portray Estonia in a negative light,” Viks said.
Chiesa filed court documents against Estonian government last week, disputing the entry ban that was imposed on him from December 12 last year until January 13.
He was invited by an NGO called Impressum to give a speech in Tallinn on December 15 last year, under the topic “Does Europe need to be afraid of Russia?” However, after arriving to Estonia, he was soon afterwards arrested by the Estonian police and sent out of the country, causing a minor diplomatic incident in the process.
Chiesa is a former journalist and politician who was a member of the Italian Communist Party until 1991 when it was dissolved. During the Soviet period, he worked in Moscow as a correspondent for Italian newspapers l´Unitá and La Stampa. It has been alleged that he received funding from the Soviet Communist Party during the 1980s.
Chiesa protected and justified the actions by an Estonian communist Arnold Meri (deceased in 2009) who was charged by Estonian prosecuters with genocide in 2007 for his role of organizing the deportation of 251 Estonians to Siberia after the Soviet occupation in the 1940s.
In 2008, Chiesa justified Russia's actions in Georgia and in 2014 in eastern Ukraine. According to Chiesa, the latest conflict was the start of the third world war against Russia. He also justified the annexation of Crimea by Russia. He is a member of ultraconservative and anti-liberal Russian organization Irboska Club.
Tallinn's venues shunning Impressum ahead of controversial visit by an Italian ex-MEP Chiesa
In the meantime, larger hotels and venues in Tallinn have rejected attempts by pro-Kremlin NGO Impressum to book a venue for its next meeting, due to be held on Friday. Event organizers have been forced to hold the meeting in Maardu.
Impressum project leader Natalja Kossareva told Postimees that Tallinn's hotels said they do not want to give their clients negative emotions. Italian journalist and former MEP Giulietto Chiesa has said he will return to Estonia for the Friday meeting. He was due to take part in a similar event a month ago, but was escorted out of the country by police, after the Ministry of the Interior handed him an entry ban. That entry ban expired last week and has not been extended.
Editor: S. Tambur, J.M. Laats