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"Visa curtain" in front of Russian scientists is caricature of Cold War - experts

October 13, 2014, 16:13 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© ITAR-TASS/Alexandra Mudrats

MOSCOW, October 13. /TASS/. The ‘visa curtain’ the West has dropped in front of Russian scientists is impairing the dialogue between states and by no means helps eliminate arising controversies, the director of the Institute of US and Canada Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences, Sergey Rogov, told TASS after the Estonian authorities denied entry to a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Ethnology and Anthropology Institute Valery Tishkov.

Tishkov, who arrived in Tallinn at the invitation of the international media club Impressum, was stopped at the airport’s passport control desk and told that the Estonian authorities on October 9 prohibited him from entering the country. The scientist had to stay during the night at the airport’s transit zone. Upon his return to Moscow the next morning Tishkov told TASS he is waiting for the Estonian authorities to present apologies.

The Russian embassy in Estonia told TASS it learned about Tishkov’s deportation from media reports and was now looking into the affair.

“Valery Tishkov is Russia’s number one specialist on inter-ethnic problems. In the past he held the post of Russia’s nationalities minister. He is a world-renowned scientist. He has never taken the liberty of indulging in speculations that might cast a shadow on the reputation of individual countries or ethnic groups or spark chauvinistic propaganda,” Sergey Rogov said. “Amid the anti-Russian sanctions Estonia and a number of other countries have been tightening visa policy screws without taking the trouble to study the scientists’ real views and outlooks.”

“A modern equivalent of the ‘iron curtain’ that existed during the Cold War era is not on the agenda yet, but a ‘visa curtain’ is already there and it is not Russia that has dropped it, but the West. The Institute of US and Canada studies has already encountered Washington’s refusal to let in a group of leading Russian scientists invited to a scientific conference. The experts who have been denied visas have visited the United States a dozen times. All of them are well-known to the US authorities, but now they have been denied an opportunity to meet with their US counterparts,” Rogov said.

“At a time when the Ukrainian crisis has stalemated the official dialogue, contacts at the level of non-governmental experts might have helped find sensible solutions. We are prepared for such a dialogue. Within the next few days we plan to hold several meetings of Russian and US experts in Moscow. I would like to recall that during the Cold War such contacts helped draft official agreements that outlawed nuclear testing in three media, on strategic arms limitations and the anti-ballistic missile treaty,” Rogov said. “Regrettably, these days attempts are being made to upset even scientific ties between Russia and the West. This by no means contributes to terminating the acute phase of the conflict.”

“Politics is a highly volatile matter. Academician Valery Tishkov is a world level scientist who has dedicated himself to studying the eternal problems of humanity - anthropology, the history of nations and ethnoses. The fact that he has not been allowed to deliver a lecture in Tallinn is a manifestation of obscurantism,” the president of the Foreign and Defence Policy Council, Fyodor Lukyanov, has told TASS.

“The three Baltic countries are very suspicious about the international media club Impressum, where Tishkov was scheduled to speak. I participated in that club’s meetings more than once. It usually invites Russian scientists, authors and actors of authority to maintain contacts with the civil society in Russia and the Russian communities in the Baltic countries. It is very counter-productive of the Estonian authorities to hamper the rapprochement of peoples in the modern world,” the expert said.

“Refusals to grant entry visas to Russian scientists is a caricature replica of the Cold War. In those years there was a struggle between political systems, and it never got personal. The scientific and humanitarian sphere, just as sports, should serve the interests of all countries and stay outside politics,” Lukyanov believes.


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