The EU barred Dmitry Kiselyov, author and host of Vesti Nedeli (News of the Week), from entering the EU countries. Thus, he lost even a hypothetical chance to come to the annual conference, organized by the Barents Press International, which will be held from April 24 to 27 in Kirkenes (last year, this conference was held in Apatity). He was invited there as an expert. This issue was discussed a few months ago, but the final agreement was not reached. Opinions of Russian and Norwegian journalists on the situation around Dmitry Kiselyov divided.
This year, an international conference will be held for the 19th time and will gather more than 130 people from four countries in the Norwegian town Kirkenes. The main theme is freedom of speech in Russia and the Nordic countries, common problems and different approaches to this issue.
In 2000, Dmitry Kiselyov has already participated in this forum, which was held in Sweden, Arjeplog. The coordinator of the Barents Press International project Elena Larionova told «7х7» about it:
“He had just returned from Scandinavia, where he was the correspondent of Channel One, PRT (Public Russian Television) at the time. He spoke very interestingly, compared Nordic and Russian journalism. Everyone liked him. Within 2 years of that, he was a training specialist at a seminar in Murmansk, that we held with the Youth Committee. He conducted seminar very interestingly. Journalists were thrilled with him. Two years ago, in rank of Deputy General Director of All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company he met with a group of Norwegian journalists, participants of the Russian Democracy course. Then he unequivocally stated: "Freedom of the press doesn’t exist".
According to Elena Larionova, despite the fact that Dmitry Kiselyov is in a blacklist of the EU, the conference organizers would be happy to see him among the experts of the forum. The question of his participation was discussed a few months ago before Euromaidan in Kiev and resonant performances in Vesti Nedeli. However, Kiselyov alleged a busy schedule and refused to arrive in Kirkenes.
“We would gladly invite him now. It’s important for us to hear different points of view. Unfortunately, he was in a blacklist. In my opinion, this is an absurd decision. Journalists shouldn’t be deprived of the right to enter the country because of their position, even if they are called "propagandists",” Elena Larionova said.
Dmitry Kiselyov told about his attitude to barred access to the EU in an interview to Izvestia: "A person who is 100 percent a friend of Norway falls under the Norwegian sanctions whose aim is to restrict freedom of speech. After allegations of sanctions against me, I got a call from Japan, and an invitation to visit. I was flattered. But actually, I had plans to travel to northern Norway by car from Murmansk with my kids. We booked a fishing cottage in the northern Viking village Gjesvaer with only 150 inhabitants. I wanted to show them the never setting sun, bird colonies, northern fishing and seals. We even paid in advance… The story is really absurd. It’s a pity my children will not get to see Norway. But they can still see Japan."
Opinions of journalists, who are going to a conference in Norway, on the "banned" Kiselyov divided.
“Perhaps, I bewail that I won’t be able to see Kiselyov in Kirkenes on the Barents Press conference,” an observer of B-Port.com Angela Kolyada told "7x7". “It could be a rare opportunity to see and hear a man who clearly sees the problems of modern society, but believes his own opinion is the only true. And it could be a rare opportunity at least to try to argue with him. Discussion might be hot and full of quotes. As for the ban on entry — the situation with Kiselyov is ambiguous. On the one hand, it is strange that a friendly Norway didn’t give a journalist an opportunity to come to a meeting with colleagues to discuss pressing issues. On the other hand, his statements seemed to instill so much terror into foreigners that he became persona non grata. Maybe now it is the measure of professional success? Although let's be honest, the statement of Kiselyov, in particular, of the Russian nuclear power and opportunity "to turn the U.S. into radioactive dust" shocked even the Russian scientific community. Were the brightest minds of the country disquieted by his fiery speeches in vain?”
But a journalist, blogger and author of multimedia projects from Petrozavodsk Natalia Sevets-Ermolina, who is also going to Kirkenes, considers that the non-participation of Kiselyov in a conference will not strongly affect its status.
“To begin with, I don’t have a TV. And all the news and commentary on the fact that Kiselyov is a propaganda mouthpiece of Putin I read out of the corner of my eye in the news feed. And I myself have not seen any reel with Kiselyov. I don’t feel competent to comment on political implications of the story. I write about culture, hold a multimedia video poetry festival "My poet" in our city. And the presence or absence of Kiselyov doesn’t change the general background of my life. Actually, I manage to dispense with Putin and Kiselyov in my simple provincial daily life. So don’t consider it the political illiteracy. I used to head for timeless values: wisdom, poetry, cultural forms of interaction. And those two, and the entire international diplomacy will manage somehow without me,” Natalia Sevets-Ermolina said.
Norwegian colleagues also have no consensus.
“News about Kiselyov caused a big stir in the Norwegian media. Many publications reprinted our article in «Barents Observer». But this situation has both supporters and opponents. Some believe that Norway should not follow the EU when it comes to sanctions against some Russian citizens. But at the same time, some are glad that Kiselyov will be refused entry to Norway. By the way, as far as we know, he didn’t even apply for a visa to Norway in accordance with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” a journalist of «Barents Observer» Trude Pettersen told "7x7".
Alexander Borisov, «7x7»