Diena - Latvia | 23/07/2014

Pointless entry ban for Russian musicians

One day before the start of the Russian New Wave music festival in the Latvian resort of Jūrmala, Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs has refused entry to three musicians who openly supported Russia's annexation of Crimea in recent months. The liberal daily Diena doesn't see the point: "Will these bans change anything essential? Does anyone think a ban will influence how these Russian musicians think? Dozens upon dozens of Russian musicians who are well known in Latvia support Putin's policies in Ukraine. Why have only three been refused entry? ... The Latvian authorities' reaction to the tragic events of the past days in Ukraine is anything but even-handed. We're not happy with our neighbour, so we'll stop his friends from singing. ... Will such an attitude change anything in Ukraine?" (23/07/2014)

Kathimerini - Greece | 20/07/2014

Hobby archeologists welcome in Greece

Guests at a luxury hotel on the Peleponnese have been invited to try their hands at archaeology this summer and participate in digs in the ancient city of Messene on a daily or weekly basis under expert guidance. The leftist opposition party Syriza sees the invitation as an insult to Greece's cultural heritage. The conservative daily Kathimerini disagrees: "Love and respect for our country's cultural identity cannot be achieved through bans or police checks. Foreign visitors are potential Greece lovers. It all depends on how we treat them. ... Do we view them as visitors or as illegal antique dealers? ... It's not just tourists seeking a different kind of holiday, archaeology students and those who want to get first hand experience at digs who benefit from this option. Above all it's society's relationship with archaeology, which gains a new dynamic because people are no longer stuck in the role of inactive observers." (20/07/2014)

Neatkarīgā - Latvia | 30/06/2014

Ukraine crisis spoils Latvian pop festival

The Russian New Wave music festival in the Latvian resort of Jūrmala on the Baltic will take place once again this July. But the Ukraine crisis has caused many people to call for artists to be banned if they approve of Russia's annexation of Crimea. The national conservative daily Neatkarīgā is unhappy that Latvia's Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma nevertheless backs the event: "No doubt many Latvians hope she'll ban artists from attending the New Wave festival the way she stopped ministers from taking part in the celebrations honouring the veterans of the Waffen SS on March 16 [Straujama replaced a minister who took part]. But it's hard to believe she will do this. ... Nevertheless Laimdota Straujuma has said that some celebrity artists attending New Wave who openly support Putin's policies in Ukraine do not deserve an entry visa." (30/06/2014)

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