Russia Annuls Nemtsov Travel Ban After EU Condemnation

European Parliament. Source: Nyctransitforums.comRussia’s Federal Bailiff Service has annulled its decision to ban leading opposition politicians Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov from leaving the country, reports.

According to Nemtsov, who says he only learned of the ban today, the about-face was influenced by today’s resolution by the European Parliament criticizing Russian authorities both for refusing to officially register his political party and for introducing the travel ban.

“Seven hundred deputies – every single faction and party in the European Parliament – demanded the immediate annulment of the ban on my ability to travel outside of the country,” Nemtsov said in response to the announcement. “Naturally, Putin’s corrupt entourage got scared that it would be banned from Europe in return.”

The opposition leader said that decisions made by European institutions have a serious influence on the Russian government and that “this resource has to be used.”

“Here [in Europe – ed.] they have children, bank accounts, real estate, yachts that they ride on,” Nemtsov said of Russian civil servants. “They need to be brought to their senses precisely through Europe; they don’t understand anything else. As a matter of fact, this was a very optimistic incident; this needs to be kept up.” He added that other parts of the European Parliament’s resolution could be carried out in Russia under due pressure from Europe.

The Federal Bailiff Service, which first denied the travel ban altogether, said that an enquiry had concluded that the ban had been “premature” and would now be lifted.

According to, the ban was initiated by businessman Gennady Timchenko, who accused the two politicians of failing to fulfill a judicial order to change two remarks in their opposition report “Putin. Results. 10 Years” that he says damaged his reputation.

The ruling ordered Nemtsov and Milov to publically retract their assertion that Timchenko used his friendship with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to become a billionaire. While a retraction was published in the newspaper Kommersant, “Mr. Timchenko was unhappy that the font was too small in that retraction, so he demanded that we should be kept inside the country for six months,” Nemtsov explained to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

While providing an unexpected but immediate benefit to the two oppositionists, the European Parliament’s resolution was first of all dedicated to a scathing criticism of Russia’s recent refusal to register their new political party, Parnas, thus preventing its representatives from participating in upcoming elections for the State Duma and presidency.

Parnas’s predicament united virtually every political faction in the European Union, with the resolution garnering support from liberals, socialists, conservatives and members of the Green Party.

The document calls on Russian authorities to lessen the requirements for new parties to register and to guarantee equal conditions for all parties and candidates during upcoming electoral campaigns, including access to television broadcast media.

As a general rule, many oppositionists – including Boris Nemtsov, Garry Kasparov, Eduard Limonov and others – are not allowed to be shown on Russia’s state-controlled television.

Commenting on the resolution, Estonian Deputy Kristiina Ojuland said that “Putin has until September to come to his senses, although it’s already clear how the rails to the future State Duma have been laid.”