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News 29 Nov 17

Moldova Extends Entry Ban on Russian Journalists

Moldovan forbade the entry of two Russian reporters on Tuesday – signalling that it intends to continue to ban journalists and others seen as supporters of the breakaway regime in the Transnistria region.

Madalin Necsutu
BIRN
Chisinau
Chisinau airport. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Ciscoman1965

Moldovan authorities on Tuesday prevented Marina Safronova, producer for Russia's Vserossiyskaya Gosudarstvennaya Televizionnaya I Radioveshchatelnaya Kompaniya, VGTRK, which is affiliated to state-owned Russia-24 TV – and Zvezda TV channel reporter Alexei Samolyotov – from entering the country.

The two were not allowed to leave the airport at the capital, Chisinau, as authorities signal their continued determination to ban Russian journalists seen as supporting the breakaway region of Transnistria in its drive for secession or separation.

Moldova sees both media outlets as disseminators of Kremlin propaganda and disinformation about Ukraine, the EU and the US, as well as about Transnistria.

The border police said Safronova and Samolyotov “did not specify the purpose of their visit to the Republic of Moldova”.

“They said they came on a private visit, but they could not confirm this. Subsequently, their real intentions have been disclosed. The two will return to Russia on the next flight," the police press service said.

Safranova and Samolyotov said they wanted to enter Moldova to take part in the screening of their documentary, "The Battle for Salyut", a film dedicated to the Salyut-7 orbital station in 1985. The documentary presents the story as a battle between the US and Russia over supremacy in space.

Over the past few years, Moldovan authorities have banned the access of numerous Russian journalists accused of being propagandists for the Kremlin. Some of them were also banned from Ukraine for the same reasons.

In September, for example, Moldova banned Russian Komsomolskaya Pravda correspondent Daria Aslamova who had come to Chisinau to interview the country's pro-Russian President, Igor Dodon.

Before, Aslomova had named Romania a “Soros nation” – suggesting it was dependent on billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros – adding that Romania had hidden intentions to annex Moldova and parts of Ukraine.

Dozens of other Russian journalists have not been allowed to enter Moldova in recent years. In 2015, Russian travel channel, TVT and Zvezda staffers sent to reflect on events in Transnistria, and VGTRK, Ren-TV and LifeNews journalists who were sent to cover protests in 2016, were not allowed to enter Moldova.

Along with journalists, Moldova has also banned entry of various artists, scientists and public figures, especially those related to events in the region of Transnistria.

Russian Vice-Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was declared persona non-grata in Moldova owing to his perceived defamatory language on Moldova, thwarting his intention in August to go to Transnistria and decorate men who had fought in 1992 against the Moldovan army.

Rogozin himself, in his book “Vrag Naroda” ["Enemy of the People"] recalled that he fought with a gun in his hand against Moldova. Despite that, today he is Russia's special envoy for both Transnistria and Moldova.

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