Estonia deports two Russian journalists for working while on tourist visas

Jõhvi station.
Jõhvi station. Source: Jenny Va / ERR

Two journalists from the Russian newspaper Izvestia were deported on Saturday from Estonia and given entry bans for working while on a tourist visa. The PPA said they were making propaganda.

Correspondent Ksenia Soldatova and cameraman Dmitri Timofeyev were removed from a Tallinn-bound train at Jõhvi in eastern Estonia by the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) on Friday, news portal Delfi reported.

The pair crossed the border on tourist visas issued by two other EU member states.

Once in Estonia, the pair were seen making a report in front of the Soviet-era tank monument in Narva. Debates aorund its upcoming removal are currently a hot topic in the country, especially among the Russian community.

They also planned to cover the Russian Schengen tourist visa ban which will be implemented this week, Delfi wrote.

Urmas Elmi, head of the PPA's Eastern Prefecture, said the pair were making propaganda.

The Narva monument, a replica World War Two T-34 tank. Source: Tatjana Gassova/ERR

A statement issued by the agency late on Friday evening said: "We are currently sending two Russian citizens back to Russia who came to Estonia to do propaganda work in violation of the visa regime.

"A 30-year-old woman and a 40-year-old man arrived in Estonia at noon today [August 12] through the Narva border point. At the border, they presented Schengen visas issued by Italy and Finland and claimed to be on vacation.

"But after that, the man and woman went to the Narva tank and started to make propaganda there. When they got on the Narva-Tallinn train and started traveling towards Tallinn, a police patrol came to the train at Jõhvi and the man and woman were taken to the police station for inspection.

"It is not allowed to work while traveling for tourism purposes, this is a violation of the visa regime. Therefore, we will cancel their visas, ban them from entering Estonia and send them back to Russia."

The pair crossed the border back to Russia early on Saturday morning, the PPA told ERR News. They were each handed a three-year entry ban.

Narva border point. Source: PPA

Last week, Estonia announced it would ban Russian citizens with Estonian-issued tourist Schengen visas from the country. Those with visas issued by other countries will be allowed to enter.

Estonia wants the EU to suspend tourism visas for all Russian citizens.

Due to the flight ban imposed on Russia, Russian citizens can only enter the EU via land at border crossing points in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas called the situation "unfair" last week.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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