Kalniete refused entry to Russia for Nemtsov funeral

MEP and former Foreign Minister Sandra Kalniete was refused entry to Russia Monday evening en route to the funeral of Boris Nemtsov in Moscow tomorrow.

On arrival at Moscow Sheremetovo airport she was detained despite her diplomatic credentials.

"After two hours of waiting they told me I was refused entry into Russia according to their codex paragraph 27, point 1. I asked what exactly does that paragraph say and no-one was able to answer," she told LSM from the airport.

"It is insulting because I was here representing not just Latvia but the European People's Party at the funeral of Boris Nemtsov. I was not a friend, but I was an admirer and had the opportunity to see him several times including at the EPP group in the European Parliament. I admired him as a politician and as a human being."

"I will now have an opportunity to experience the hospitality of the so-called 'Snowden Hotel' tonight in the transit zone. Tomorrow morning I fly back to Brussels."

"I feel really proud to be labelled an enemy of Russia today. Russia in its current state does not have many friends."
 

Kalniete, who grew up in Siberia as part of a family forcibly deported from Latvia, has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine in the European Parliament, even going so far as to wear a T-shirt in Ukraine's national colors.

She is also a former Foreign Minister and is currently being discussed as a possible candidate for the Latvian presidency later later this year. 

Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs tweeted Sunday that he would attend Tuesday’s scheduled funeral in Moscow of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in light of his “liberal friends from Russia”.

“It’s hard,” he wrote, claiming to have been in constant touch with them all weekend long in the aftermath of the blatant assassination.

The mayor’s tweet prompted harsh criticism from pundits recalling the Harmony party’s ongoing cooperation agreement with Russia’s ruling United Russia party and regular visits among the circles of the Kremlin establishment.

Political analyst Jānis Ikstens called the tweet cynical and “exceedingly strange coming from a party leader who has a contract with Russia’s ruling party, which is in turn singly responsible for what is going on in Russia, including the Nemtsov murder,” he told LSM.

Meanwhile Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said the official state representatives designated to attend Nemtsov’s funeral and they are Parliamentary Secretary for the Foreign Minsitry Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica and MEP and Kalniete.

On Sunday a gathering of a couple of dozen people laid flowers and stood silently in mourning by the Russian Embassy in Riga.

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