Liimets does not support additional sanctions lists of pro-Putin artists

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) does not support creating an additional list of sanctioned cultural figures who support Russia's war in Ukraine.

The creation of a list of cultural figures banned from performing in Estonia was sparked by a concert for Russian pop singer Philipp Kirkorov, who has publically supported President Putin and his actions in Ukraine, due to take place on May 27 in Tallinn.

Tallinn City Government did not want to offer up space for the concert but this does not stop other organizers from hosting the artist, the council said in a letter sent to the minister last week. It also suggested the state create a public list of people who can no longer perform in Estonia.

"I do not support compiling separate lists," Liimets on Saturday said. "If we compile a list of fifteen people, can the sixteenth or eighteenth who is left off this list come to Estonia?" 

The application of sanctions varies between countries, she added, including whether or not those given entry bans are made public. "We have not compiled public lists and do not consider this to be justified now," the minister said.

"We expect the organizers to take responsibility themselves," said Liimets. "For our part, we are, of course, trying to make it clear to organizers that incitement of the war is not welcome in Estonia."

Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Kaarel Oja believes sanctions are justified. "The issue is first and foremost about legal clarity," he said.

Oja said the Ministry of Culture has recommended that Estonia should not cooperate with artists who support the war but the responsibility for implementation has been left to the "maze" of various entertainment organizers.

"If one party terminates the contract, it is possible to go to another ticket sales agent," he said, calling for legal clarity on the issue.

Kirkorov has been banned from visiting Lithuania over his views. He has been perceived as a threat to Estonia since the summer of 2021 and more than 6,600 people have signed a petition to stop the concert.


Editor: Helen Wright

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