Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) commented on MEP Yana Toom's (Center) visit to Russia, stating that visiting an aggressor state is morally reprehensible and highly undesirable.
"On the recommendation of the Internal Security Service (ISS, also known as Kapo), the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) revoked Zoja Paljamar's Estonian residence permit and imposed a 10-year Schengen entrance ban on her on June 8, 2023. Then, while we do our best to emphasize that the European Union must stand united against Russia and we want to impose harsher sanctions, hold the aggressor state accountable for its actions and pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine, the Estonian MEP is essentially going on a vacation to Russia," Läänemets told ERR.
"If Russian citizens are subject to strict restrictions due to sanctions, which make it impossible for them to enter Estonia, we would also urge all travelers in the opposite direction not to go to Russia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly advises people not to travel to Russia, including those who are used to shopping or doing other daily activities across the border from Narva," the minister said.
"So it has been evident for long that visiting the aggressor nation is morally reprehensible and utterly undesirable. But once again, a Center politician could control her love for Russia or adhere to national recommendations," Läänemets said.
"Another significant aspect of this is that it was not possible for her to 'cross the border' discreetly, but Yana Toom must mock and cast doubt on the Estonian security agencies and their decisions in light of everything else that transpires right now," Läänemets said.
Läänemets went on to say that even if one could try to understand Toom's family reasons for visiting Russia, there is no excuse for meeting the expelled pro-Kremlin activist.
"We all heard about the Center Party's turmoil yesterday. To paraphrase a journalist, it is remarkable that there was a donation dispute for the first time in the Center Party's history, when it was a legal and transparent donation. After all, no one has ever been suspicious in the party of corrupt or covert contributions in the past. I would like to believe that, in the the midst of internal squabbling, albeit driven by money, the Center Party will pick which side of the border is in its heart, and for whom it will advocate when support is needed," Läänemets added.
MEP Yana Toom (Center) recently visited Russia, where she paid a visit to pro-Kremlin activist Zoja Paljamar, who was expelled from Estonia. Toom told ERR that in Russia she visited her sister.
Toom's office provides legal assistance to non-citizens whose resident permits are revoked
On her website Toom wrote (link in Estonian) that the police "failed to revoke Paljamar's residence permit and passport in a timely manner, which would be impossible without her consent if she had been in Estonia at the time. Moreover, the police claimed Paljamar had no family or personal life in Estonia, despite the fact that she lives here with her one and only ex-husband, with whom she shares a home and a daughter."
"On June 19, Zoja appealed her illegal deportation with our help," Toom wrote (link in Russian).
In the lawsuit against the decision to revoke Paljamar's residence permit, the attorneys said that Paljamar is stateless and holds a 'grey' passport and that "the Estonian police phoned her to inform her of the decision, while she was visiting a friend in the hospital in Russia. /.../ No other country provided Paljamar with documents and did not recognize her. She became an illegal immigrant."
"Our mission is to return Zoja to Estonia and end all deportation efforts against non-citizens," Toom wrote.
Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Kristina Kersa