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In April 2013, Sergey Naryshkin, the speaker of the Russian Duma, happily signed the guestbook of Finnish parliament, met with the former prime minister Jyrki Katainen and held talks with President Sauli Niinistö.
Today, the relations ring a different bell.
Naryshkin and his delegation was supposed to participate in the parliamentary assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe OSCE, held in Helsinki on July 5-9.
However, Naryshkin was denied access to Finland because of Russian’s involvement in the crisis of Ukraine and that, Naryshkin included, leading to about 150 Russians and Ukrainians being placed on the EU blacklist
“Without question we consider this outrageous,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to Russian news agencies.
According to Päivi Kaukoranta, the chief legal counsel for the Finnish foreign ministry, Finland has after thorough consultations and analysis decided that people on the EU Council’s sanction list are not applicable to enter Finland.
Nevertheless, the ban, which was placed in March 2014, hasn’t stopped Naryshkin to visit France for official trips at least twice.
The OSCE parliamentary assembly commemorates the 40th anniversary of a pioneering agreement that was signed in Helsinki, which helped improve relations between eastern and western Europe.
The parliamentary assembly will bring together nearly 300 parliamentarians across the OSCE area and among the topics discussed, for example, include the crisis in Ukraine, the plight of migrants and refugees, arms control and climate change and minority rights.
Even though, according to Kaukoranta, other Russian members of Naryshkin’s delegation would be welcome to join the session, Naryshkin said to the Russian television that the rest of the country’s delegation would totally skip the assembly.
“This is our expression of protest against lawlessness and against the violation of democratic principles,” Naryshkin said.