Latvia’s broadcasting watchdog has suspended nine Russian TV channels owned by Yuri Kovalchuk, a Russian oligarch under EU sanctions for his role in Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Similarly as in Lithuania, Russian channels were previously banned in Latvia due to their content, but it’s the first time a decision was made in connection to EU sanctions.
The channels to be blocked are ‘Vremya: dalekoye i blizkoye’, ‘Bobjor’, ‘Dom Kino’, ‘Dom Kino PREMIUM’, ‘Muzika Pervogo’, ‘O!’, ‘Poyekhali’, ‘TELECAFE’ and ‘Peterburg – 5 kanal’, according to the Latvian public broadcaster, LSM.
The ban will be in place as long as Kovalchuk is under EU sanctions, according to Ivars Āboliņš, board member of the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) in Latvia.
Kovalchuk is a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to media reports, and was named “Putin's personal banker" by Radio Free Europe, and Putin’s cashier by the US White House.