MEP Yana Toom justifies her meeting in Russia with a pro-Kremlin activist

Yana Toom.
Yana Toom. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Zoja Paljamar, who has been expelled from Estonia, should have never been expelled in the first place and Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets' (SDE) criticism of her travel to Russia is unjust, MEP and deputy leader of the Center Party, Yana Toom, said.

"How do I respond to this criticism? It doesn't seem right. /.../ Zoja Paljamar is contesting her deportation decision in an Estonian court. And I find it extremely odd that the Minister of the Interior, without waiting for the ruling, accuses me in general of having some sort of affection for the Russian Federation. This entire story is unrelated to Russia," Toom said in a Saturday interview with Rus.err.

"As a matter of fact, non-citizens [i.e. 'grey' passport holders] cannot be deported under Estonian or EU law," Toom added.

She recalled that Sergei Chaulin, another non-citizen, was deported from Estonia after signing a consent to leave for Russia.

"There was intrigue, but we won't discuss why he signed the document at that time. The ISS and the PPA had at least a semblance of justification for expelling him. In the case of Zoja (Paljamar), they waited for her departure from Estonia before banning her return. There is no other state in the world that bears responsibility for her. This state is Estonia. It issued her a passport. If she violated any laws, she should be prosecuted in an Estonian court under the laws of the Republic of Estonia," Toom said.

"Perhaps she should be imprisoned or otherwise punished. But in Estonia, not in Russia. There she is just an illegal, not eligible for pensions, health care, etc. She is just invisible there," she added.

"We want to have her repatriated to Estonia. And then ask Lauri Läänemets deal with her, find out whether she is a Kremlin agent, a Chinese one or something else," Toom said.

Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets (SDE) commented on MEP Yana Toom's (Center) visit to Russia, stating that it is morally reprehensible and highly undesirable to visit the aggressor state.

Toom recently traveled to Russia, where she met expelled from Estonia pro-Kremlin activist Paljamar.


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Editor: Marko Tooming, Kristina Kersa

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