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Russian analysts call EU reaction to Moscow’s retaliatory stop lists hypocritical

June 01, 2015, 19:51 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
©  ITAR-TASS/Alexander Ryumin

MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. The European politicians’ acute reaction to Moscow’s list of EU officials who have been prohibited from entering Russia is exaggerated and disproportionate, polled analysts have told TASS.

The "stop list" Moscow has handed over to Brussels contains the names of 89 politicians from EU countries. On Saturday, the list was published by foreign mass media. The deputy director of the Foreign Ministry’s information and press department, Maria Zakharova, has explained in Facebook that Brussels had contacted Moscow via diplomatic channels to ask Moscow for such lists in order to minimize inconveniences for those likely to be denied permission to enter the country. As soon as they received the lists, the European officials made them public and demanded official explanations from Moscow.

"Sirs, that’s really mean," Zakharova’s post runs.

The chief of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, said the stop list was an arbitrary and groundless measure and demanded extra explanations. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte argues that the stop list has no international legal basis to rely on. Britain’s Foreign Office, too, says it sees no legal reason allowing Russia to introduce the black list. Many EU politicians have come out with harsh statements on that score.

Lecturer at the political theory chair of the Moscow state institute of international relations MGIMO, Kirill Koktysh, believes that such statements are unexplainable.

"International law has always been based on the principle of symmetry. When Russia came up with its own ‘stop list’ in retaliation for the European Union’s black list of Russian politicians the European bureaucrats preferred to follow the old proverb ‘What is permissible for Jove is not permissible for an ox.’ This hypocrisy weighs on their conscience. But after the EU has denied entry to the speaker of Russia’s Federation Council, Moscow, too, has the right to deny entry to, say, Polish parliamentary speaker. This reaction by Russia is quite predictable, so there is no point of simulating injured pride," Koktysh said.

"In accordance with international practice any state has the right to deny entry to any foreign national without explaining the reasons. The United States and many other EU countries do so. Suffice it to recall Estonia’s recent refusal to let a Russian ethnologist of world renown, Valery Tishkov, attend a scientific conference in Tallinn. The Estonian authorities offered no explanations and Brussels has kept quiet about the affair.

"It is quite significant that after the deportation of German legislator Karl-Georg Wellmann the German authorities and then the EU leadership asked Moscow for a list of undesirable persons to rule out situations in which people might arrive in Russia only to learn they must return home. Moscow has decided to be transparent. The list had been drawn up in advance. Moscow decided to meet the European partners’ requests to minimize the effects of future entry refusals. As a result we’ve heard more, absolutely groundless accusations from the EU functionaries," Koktysh said.

The head of the public diplomacy commission Sergey Markov has described Moscow’s response to the EU’s ‘black lists’ of Russian politicians as symmetrical retaliation.

"Moscow put on the ‘stop lists’ those politicians and those countries which support anti-Russian sanctions. Absent from the lists are the officials of Cyprus, Hungary, Greece and other countries that have displayed interest in cooperation with Russia. The European officials are free to make their conclusions," said Markov, a member of the Civic Chamber.

"I was refused permission to enter the Schengen zone myself even when I was a State Duma member. Nobody has ever explained to me the reasons. The European politicians’ anger is hypocritical and demands for official explanations are groundless," Markov said.

"The European Union’s politicians hope that with the ‘black lists’ they will be able to punish Russia for its high-principled stance over the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. For Brussels it would’ve been far more constructive to use the efforts being wasted on anti-Russian rhetoric to enforce compliance with the Minsk Accords," Markov said.

And the director of the Centre for Political Technologies, Igor Bunin, said one aspect of the affair looked particularly odd to him.

"Had Moscow dismissed the European Union’s request for a list of politicians prohibited from entering Russia, the storm of criticism against it would have been as strong as the one over the disclosure of the list, or even possibly stronger."

"Any foreign policy gesture by Russia entails a harsh, sometimes disproportionate response from the European partners. Mutual accusations are snowballing. Meanwhile, time is ripe for establishing civilized relations and taking reciprocal steps. There is no other way of ending the long-lasting confrontation," he said.

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