Latvia can expect an appropriate response from Moscow for its decision to declare two prominent Russian journalists personae non gratae, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said on Thursday.
The Latvian Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday that Modest Kolerov, the former editor-in-chief of the Regnum news agency, and Igor Pavlovsky, the current deputy editor, secretly undermined the territorial integrity and economic security of Latvia and included them in the so-called blacklist.
“Obviously such actions contradict Riga’s official statements on the desire to develop pragmatic and mutually beneficial cooperation with our country… We reserve the right to respond appropriately,” said Maria Zakharova, a deputy head of the ministry’s information and press department.
She added that Latvia would bear the onus for any potential negative consequences of the decision.
Kolerov, a former director of the Presidential Administration’s Deparment for Interregional and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, is an active opponent of what he considers to be growing facism in the Baltic countries.
He is already on “blacklists” in Georgia, Lithuania and Estonia, according to a Regnum report.
Russia and the Baltic states remain at loggerheads over cultural and historical issues. The Russian authorities have repeatedly expressed dismay at what they say are neo-Nazi marches held in Riga and the Lithuanian capital Vilnius that honor local veterans of World War II who fought for the Nazis.
Regnum is a federal news agency that covers news in Russia and neighboring countries. The Estonian authorities accused the agency in 2005 of acting as a propaganda tool on behalf of the Russian government.