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30 Jan, 2008 03:33

Pro-Kremlin youth vent anger on Europeans

The pro-Kremlin youth group, Nashi, has staged protests against the European Commission in Moscow after some of its members were refused visas for Europe. They claim they're being punished for rallying against the dismantling of a Soviet-era monument in E

“I am protesting against their double standards. They talk about freedom of speech and human rights. Today we are not being allowed into Europe for protesting; tomorrow it can be any Russian person. I have done nothing wrong,” one of the protesters, Maryana Skvortsova, said.

But that's not how the Estonian authorities see it.

When the government decided to relocate a World War II memorial and grave celebrating Soviet bravery last spring, this caused an outrage amongst the country's considerable Russian minority. The result was a night of violent riots.

The Estonian government says Russian youth groups helped organise the disturbances, and many of their members were on the streets of Tallinn that night. It deported them and has barred many from entering the country ever again.

But now, Estonia has joined the European zone for visa free travel, and has shared its “blacklists” with other EU states, meaning Nashi activists may also encounter trouble when travelling to other European nations.