Blacklisted Russian journalists sent home

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Latvian authorities have returned two Russian journalists to their homeland after they were found in Latvia despite being on an entry blacklist for past propagandistic activities.

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (RFERL), quoting Russian newswires, reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Maria Zakharova had strongly criticised the decisions to deport Olga Kurlayeva January 4 following the deportation of her husband Anatoly Kurlayev on January 1.

Latvia's State Border Guard confirmed to LSM that deportations following immigration checks had been initiated but pointed out that it does not release the names of indidivuals involved in such actions.

The names of Kurlayev and Kurlayeva were released into the public domain by the individuals themselves and the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"The officers of the State Border Guard, when carrying out immigration control, found one Russian citizen in Riga, who was included in the list of persons who are denied entry to Latvia. A person was detained in accordance with the Immigration Law and on the same day, in the order specified by law, expelled from Latvia," the border guard said of the first case. 

"Today, on January 4, a [female] Russian citizen was detained was detained after it was confirmed she is on the list of persons who are denied entry to Latvia. Currently, according to the law, further procedural steps are being taken to expel that person," it said of the second case.

The precise reason for the pair's blacklisting has not been given but is believed to be related to a derogatory film made by Kurlayev about Latvia and NATO in 2015.

The pair join British self-styled journalist and former stand-up comedian Graham Phillips in being awarded the order of the boot by Latvia. 

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