Former Russian Minister Refused Entry to Estonia
Estonian border control prevented Valery Tishkov, an academic and former Russian Minister of Nationalities, from entering Estonia through Tallinn Lennart Meri International Airport on Sunday.
Tishkov was handed a five-year entry ban by the Estonian Ministry of the Interior in 2013.
The Ministry of Interior told ERR that information relating specific entry bans is not to be released for 75 years and the reasons will only be made known to the blacklisted individual or his official representative.
Tishkov, 72, was on his way to present on ethnic relations and conflicts in an event organized by the Impressum international media club at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Tallinn. Tishkov spent the night at the airport and flew back to Moscow on Monday morning.
The Internal Security Service (ISS) have previously referred to associations between the Impressum club and the Russian foreign intelligence service SVR. The media club was founded in 2008 and organizes meetings with experts or public figures from different fields of life, both from Russia and the rest of the world, on a monthly basis.
Tishkov is not the first of Impressum's guests to be refused entry to Estonia. Impressum reports on its website that previously invited guests, including Vladimir Zarikhin, a political scientist and deputy director of the Moscow-based CIS Institute, was sent back from the border, and security expert Igor Korotchenko was similarly treated.
According to the Moscow Times, Korotchenko had been scheduled to speak about the Soviets' defeat of Nazi Germany in the World War II and the use of Nazi symbolism in modern politics. The publication noted that since its founding, Impressum has been kept in check by Estonian authorities, who believe Russia uses it as a platform to glorify itself and promote its own historical narratives in the Baltic states.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called the incident a provocation and promised retaliation. The ministry said that Tishkov was unaware of the entry ban and forced to undergo "a humiliating refusal of entry procedure" in the airport.
Tishkov himself said that, "Unless Estonian government apologizes and explains why I am not allowed to enter Estonia, I call on my colleagues to sever all contacts with Estonian scholars."
Urmas Sutrop, a professor of ethnolinguistics at the University of Tartu, told Delfi that communication and cooperation between Estonian and Russian academics is almost non-existent already, and such a boycott would have no effect on Estonian academics.