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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 19.01.2022, 05:53

Russian ForMin requests presence of Estonian ambassador to clarify IT company CEO case

BC, Tallinn, 18.09.2020.Print version
Estonian Ambassador Margus Laidre visited the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was interested in the circumstances of the escape to Estonia of Aleksandr Litreev, a cyber security specialist and activist under criminal investigation, according the Estonian daily Postimees inforation writes LETA/BNS.

In a recent interview with Radio Liberty, Litreev did not want to disclose the details of his arrival in Estonia, but nevertheless mentioned that he was assisted by the Estonian consulate general in St. Petersburg. At the same time, it is noted that Litreev is thought to have crossed the Estonian border without documents, as they had been confiscated from him during the criminal proceedings.

Litreev's border crossing also came to the fore on Thursday at a press briefing by the Russian Foreign Ministry, where Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the ministry, was asked to comment. Referring to the aforementioned interview, Zakharova replied that "Estonian Ambassador to Moscow M. Laidre was invited to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand explanations from the Estonian side," Postimees writes.

Sandra Kamilova, a media adviser at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed to the daily that Litreev nevertheless crossed the Russian-Estonian border in May on the basis of an identity document. “The Estonian consulate general in St. Petersburg provided services to the person in accordance with the Consular Act. The citizen presented a foreign passport of the Russian Federation as a valid travel document to identify him. The person was issued a certificate on the existence of a valid Estonian residence permit, which is not a document suitable for crossing the border," Kamilova said.

She noted that Estonian foreign missions cannot issue identity documents to third-country nationals, including for border crossings. According to Kamilova, the decision to allow Litreev to leave Russia was made by the Russian border guard service.

"At the invitation of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Estonian ambassador to Moscow also went there on Tuesday to clarify the issue," Kamilova said. She emphasized, however, that this was not a summoning of a diplomat to the carpet, so to speak, as could be understood from the statement issued by Maria Zakharova.

In 2018, Aleksandr Litreev founded the IT company Vee Security in Estonia, which helped the messaging application Telegram to avoid the blockades imposed by the Russian authorities. Litreev has also created the Red Button application, which helps people detained during protests in Russia.

On February 22, 2020, when Litreev traveled from Estonia to Russia for personal reasons, he was taken into custody in Yekaterinburg. According to the man, someone had anonymously reported to the police that he was in possession of drugs. In April, Litreev was released from house arrest, but the criminal case was not closed.

At the same time, another criminal case was initiated against Litreev, this time for failure to report foreign documents. According to Litreev, the investigators said that a temporary Estonian residence permit issued to him in 2019 was what is irking the authorities.

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