MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. Moscow expects a response from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to the expulsion of Russian columnist Stanislav Byshok from France at the request of Lithuania, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.
"An extremely unpleasant incident with the detention and expulsion at the initiative of Lithuania of Russian citizen Stanislav Byshok that occurred on February 17 at Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport indicates that the unacceptable practices of persecution of dissidents in Lithuania go beyond this Baltic state and are imposed on its European partners," Zakharova noted.
"The Russian national arrived in the French capital at the invitation of the Independent Journalists Association for Peace to take part in the international conference Freedom of the Press amid International Instability and Terrorist Threats," she said. "As a result of another provocation by Vilnius freedom of speech and free expression of alternative opinion was again severely restricted."
The Lithuanian authorities’ actions who decided to restrict the freedom of movement of an independent Russian columnist who, according to his own words, has never been to Lithuania, "have a purely political motivation." "In this context, one cannot but recall a similar case when Finnish border guards had to detain Russian political scientist Sergei Mikheev and prevent him from entering the country. It turned out that Lithuania had banned him from entering the Schengen area," Zakharova said.
"The desire to stifle an alternative point of view is becoming an obsession for the Lithuanian authorities," she said. "We expect a principled assessment of the incident from the relevant international organizations and experts, including OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic."