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Russia Expels Estonian Diplomat After Report of Visa Rejections

April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Russia declared an Estonian diplomat persona non grata two weeks after the Baltic nation’s prime minister visited the country for the first time.

Franek Persidski, Estonia’s consul general in Russia’s second-biggest city of St. Petersburg, has returned home, Minna-Liina Lind, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, said today in an e-mailed response to questions.

“It was a counterstep by the Russian side to a similar earlier decision made by the Estonian authorities.”, Lind said, without elaborating. Russia’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Estonia denied the visa applications of five Russians who wanted to participate in a round-table event in the capital, Tallinn, last month organized by the Gorchakov Foundation for Public Diplomacy Support, the Baltic News Service reported today.

Estonian Premier Andrus Ansip visited Russia on April 5 for the first time since coming to power in 2005. He said afterwards in an interview with the Eesti Paevaleht newspaper that political and economic ties between the two nations had improved to the best “in all history.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Anatoly Temkin in St. Petersburg at atemkin@bloomberg.net; Ott Ummelas in Tallinn at oummelas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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