A Moscow-based journalist has recently mentioned in a statement that he was restricted for entry into Estonia following the Baltic nation finalized on a plan to bar entry for Russian people on tourist visas.
The incident came days before Estonia’s tourist-visa entry ban is going to execute this Thursday, a measure imposed in the midst of the EU’s continuous pressure over restricting entry to Moscow tourists amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Yaroslav Varenik, a journalist with the 29.ru regional outlet in northern Russia, said that Estonian border guards had cancelled his tourist visa following a two-hour interrogation on Sunday.
The guards said to him the reservations for hostel he was able to book with his Russian bank card — despite Visa and Mastercard blocking Russian card transactions amid sanctions — had been cancelled, Varenik added.
After he firstly reached the Russian side of the border, Varenik added he was subjected to 7 hours of continuous interrogation & was threatened with criminal prosecution for “insulting religious sentiments” before being released.
Varenik mentioned that, “They asked me about my attitude towards the war… They checked messages and texts on my WhatsApp and Telegram. If they didn’t like my replies to their questions, they yell ‘Are you stupid?”
While referring to his nine-hour ordeal on both sides of the border, Varenik said, “The bus to Estonia left without me.”
Estonia is among several European nations whose leaders have called for a ban on issuing tourist visas to Russian people holding passports in recent days.
Russians are known to have transited via neighboring EU member states like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania as well as Finland to reach other regions in Europe after the 26-member bloc restricted Russian airlines from its airspace over the invasion of Ukraine.
Estonia, a former Soviet republic and current European Union member, suspended issuing tourist visas to Russians in early March over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.