Armenia has asked Russia to explain why it refused entry to a prominent Armenian political analyst critical of Moscow, a senior Armenian lawmaker said on Friday.
Stepan Grigorian, who runs a private think-tank in Yerevan, says he was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport on Tuesday and deported to Armenia after flying to the Russian capital to visit his late father’s grave.
Grigorian says Russian border guards told him that he has been barred from entering Russia until 2030. But they gave no further explanations, according to him.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry has so far avoided commenting on the reported incident, saying only that it is looking into the matter. But according to Gagik Melikian, a senior parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), the Armenian ambassador in Moscow, Oleg Yesayan, has demanded an explanation from relevant Russian authorities.
“I think that there has to be an official statement on that travel ban before we can decide what happened in reality,” said. “An official statement in response to an explanation demanded by Armenia’s ambassador to Russia.”
Melikian disagreed with Grigorian’s suggestions that he was barred from entering Russia for political reasons. “I don’t think that we should look for political motives,” said the pro-government lawmaker.
Grigorian is known for his strong support for Armenia’s closer ties with the West and his criticism of Russian policies in the region.