The Belarusian foreign minister says the decision to ban Gazmanov, Kobzon and Valeria from entering Latvia was “absurd”.
He said it in an interview with STV television channel.
“I think this is absurd. It practically devalues the statements on 'democratic values' we hear from the Europeans. They say about freedom of expression and freedom of speech. It turns out that journalists who pour mud on the authorities and accuse them exercise freedom of expression and freedom of speech, but a journalist who expresses his point of view and criticises the policy of Brussels is a “henchman of the regime' who must be subject to sanctions.
The same happens to representatives of the artistic community. Everyone of them has the right to freedom of speech. They express their opinions. What's wrong with it? So, these steps, by the way, I am speaking about the fact in general and not criticising the Latvian authorities, are an example of double approaches and a sort of hypocrisy of our European partners. I think it is absolutely wrong in this case to apply such methods of influencing representatives of the creative community. They have the same right to express their opinions as any human being,” he said.
The foreign minister of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took a decision to ban Russian musicians Oleg Gazmanov, Joseph Kobzon and Alla Perfilova, known as Valeria, from entering Latvia for an indefinite period.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia says they contributed to the undermining of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty.