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Lithuania deports Russian journalists “over threat to national security”

Lithuania has declared four Russian journalists of the Rossiya TV (the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, VGTRK)) as personas non-grata.  On March 10 in the morning, three of them had to leave Lithuania, the fourth journalist is wanted, BNS reports. 

Pavel Zarubin and his crew were placed on the list of undesirable persons over possible threat to national security," Vytautas Makauskas, the spokesperson for the state security department of Lithuania, said.

A representative of the State Border Guard Service Giedrius Misutis said three journalists flew to Moscow at about 1:00am on Thursday.  Deputy Head of the Migration Department Janas Vidickas said the fourth journalist is wanted by the police. In his words, the journalist will have to leave the country immediately.

Lithuanian officials claim the Russian journalists “tried to illegally enter the third annual Russian forum in the Vilnius suburb of Trakai. The event brought together representatives of the Russian opposition and intellectuals.”

Pavel Zarubin reported by telephone call from Vilnius that he was under supervision of the migration service officers who made clear that Russians should leave Lithuania by the first flight to Moscow.  “The official reason is possible threat to the national security,” the journalist said.

The event in Trakai under loud title “Forum of Free Russia” has brought together marginal figures for whom Russophobia has turned into a method of earning. Among the invitees were Garry Kasparov, Andrey Illarionov, Lev Ponomaryov, Alfred Kokh, Maria Alyokhina.  The Russian television expressed desire to talk to the participants of the Forum, but they refused in blunt terms. Kasparov even attacked Aleksey Kazakov, a VGTRK correspondent, who tried to interview him in the hall of the hotel. The former chess player insulted the journalist calling him ‘a monster.’ In response to the question why he refuses to talk to mass media, Kasparov cried out, “Thanks God, we are not in Moscow! It is a provocateur of the National Security! Call Police!”  Meantime, the Lithuanian press has interpreted the incident almost as a crime of the “hostile” TV workers.

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