On Sunday, Finnish author and sociologist Johan Bäckman, known for his anti-Estonian statements, was detained at the Port of Tallinn and deported from the country - on the anniversary of the controversy over the relocation of the Bronze Soldier statue in the centre of the Estonian capital in 2007.
Bäckman is an eager apologist for the Soviet Union, and a harsh critic of the present regime in Estonia.
He is a spokesman for the Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee and has disputed that the Soviet Union committed certain crimes attributed to its regime. He has claimed that the deportations during Stalin’s time were mere population transfers. Those who have written about the issue Bäckman describes as fascists. In his book the Bronze Soldier he dismissed the Soviet occupation of Estonia as a "Nazi myth".
In addition, Bäckman has denounced the new book Kaiken takana oli pelko (“Behind Everything Was Fear”) by Sofi Oksanen and Imbi Paju as anti-Soviet, and sees Estonia as an undemocratic apartheid state.
Kristina Leer, the representative of the Estonian Ministry of Internal Affairs, confirms that Johan Bäckman has been declared persona non grata in Estonia. On the basis of the Personal Data Protection Act, Leer was unable to reveal the precise reasons for the prohibition of entry.
Speaking on the phone from the Port of Tallinn, Johan Bäckman said that the reason for his deportation was ”anti-Estonian activities”. He was supposed to participate in a seminar and some protests in Estonia on Sunday and Monday.
Aside from the events organised by local people, Bäckman planned to arrange a protest in front of the Embassy of Finland in the Estonian capital. He claims that the embassy supports Estonia’s ”apartheid policies”.
Prohibition against entry into Estonia by Finnish citizens is extremely rare, and is usually imposed on individuals charged with criminal activities. Previously such entry bans have been issued to some Finns suspected of connections with racist movements.
Bäckman is to stand in June’s European Parliament election as an independent candidate of the Workers' Party of Finland.