Moscow, November 28, Interfax - The Russian Embassy to Latvia has criticized the Latvian authorities' decision to ban Protodeacon Andrei Kurayev from entering the country.
"On November 26 Andrei Kurayev was not let into Latvia. The inclusion of religious figures on the list of people banned from entering Latvia is beyond comprehension and certainly does not help normalize the Russian-Latvian dialogue," the embassy said on its Facebook page.
That the Latvian authorities had declared him a persona grata was announced by the well-known missionary on his blog on Saturday.
"Sitting at the airport in Riga. Border guards are saying that the Latvian security service has long banned me from entry and the ban was extended in 2015," the protodeacon wrote.
Kurayev assumed that the decision may have been a "petty revenge" for him once calling Latvia's then president Andris Berzins "a not very mature politician" after Berzins wrote to Patriarch Kirill asking him to refrain from traveling to Latvia.
Another possible reason for the entry ban, according to the protodeacon, could be his remark that Latvia's accession to the European Union came at the price of Islamization.