Latvia has banned the broadcast of nine Russian television channels that are associated with "Putin's friend" Yuri Kovalchuk

Latvia has banned the broadcast of nine Russian television channels that are associated with "Putin's friend" Yuri Kovalchuk

Mikhail Nezgovorov /

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The National Council on Electronic Mass Media (NSECMI) of Latvia has decided to impose a ban on the retransmission of nine Russian television channels in the country, deputy chairman of the NSECMI Ivar Abolins told reporters. According to officials, the beneficiary of these channels is billionaire Yuri Kovalchuk close to Putin, who is on the sanctions list.

The NSECMI received information from the state security institution that the list of programs that are currently being relayed in Latvia contains several programs of the Russian media holding, one of whose beneficiaries fell under EU sanctions "for undermining the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," Interfax "with reference to Abolins.

According to NSECMI, the Russian businessman Yuri Kovalchuk, who is subject to EU sanctions, is the beneficiary of the television channels Time: Far and Close, Beaver, Cinema House, Premium House of Cinema, Music of the First, O! "," Let's go! "," Telecafe "and" Petersburg-Channel Five.

After evaluating the information received and already at the disposal of the NSECMI, the council banned the relay of these programs in all public electronic communications networks it controls. The ban applies "to the entire territory of Latvia until the lifting of EU sanctions against a specific person (or group of persons), which is directly or indirectly associated with the aforementioned programs", explained in the NESMI.

EU and US sanctions were introduced in 2014 shortly after the annexation of Crimea to Russia, which the West considers annexation. At first they concerned only individuals and banks. With the aggravation of the situation in the east of Ukraine and the outbreak of hostilities, sanctions against whole sectors of the Russian economy: financial, energy and defense – have begun.

Yuri Kovalchuk became close to Vladimir Putin in the early 90s. Since February 1991, the future billionaire served as Deputy Chairman of the Board (Vice President) of the Association of Joint Ventures of St. Petersburg. Five years later, he, together with the future president of the Russian Federation, established the Dacha cooperative near Lake Priozersk.

Currently, Kovalchuk is the main shareholder of Rossiya Bank (39.8%), Forbes writes. Moreover, this bank is called "Putin's wallet", associated with a narrow circle of its proxies.

Yuri Kovalchuk is on the sanctions list, which is adopted by the European Union. He also appears on the US sanctions list. After freezing dollar bank accounts in the USA, Russia decided to work only in the domestic market and only with the ruble. Soon after, Russia became a bank in which Vladimir Putin, after imposing sanctions, opened an account to accrue his presidential salary.