"The political position of the Baltic states to Russia will be on the agenda of talks with these countries as well as with the leadership of the organizations they have joined recently (EU and NATO)," he said.
This was his comment on recent Latvia's denial of an entry visa to Deputy Director of the Second European Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Mikhail Demurin who had been invited to an international conference in Latvian capital Riga.
According to Mr. Chizhov, "the fact that Mr. Demurin was denied a visa cannot be taken for his being unfamiliar (to Latvian authorities - Ed.) or for a mistake, as in the recent case with Diplomatic Academy professor Tatiana Poloskova." He noted that Mr. Demurin had participated in five similar previous conferences. "He is a well-known person in the Baltic, who had been an adviser- envoy to Riga for several years, so the Foreign Ministry sees this denial of entry as an attempt to exert political pressure on people whose duty of office is to develop the Russian-Latvian relations. We believe that this was done quite deliberately," Chizhov said. (The Latvian foreign ministry had said that Mr. Demurin was on the 'black books', that is, on the list of individuals whose presence in its territory Latvia did not welcome.) "We definitely regard it as an unfriendly action. I fear this to be just one link in a political chain; it was not that long ago that an employee of our Embassy in Riga was declared a persona non grata," the official said.
A source in the Kremlin emphasized that Russia expects the European Union to translate its commitment to protect the rights of national minorities in the Baltic into real action.
He said that Russia saw it extremely important that the commitments on human rights and on the rights of national minorities had been fixed in a joint agreement adopted on April 27 in Luxembourg.
"Although the implementation of this paragraph of the declaration might take time in view of a non-constructive stance of those in power in Latvia and Estonia who would not get rid of the fears and complexes of the past, we expect implementation of the adopted agreements," the source said.