RIGA 's Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis signed a decree barring Boris Berezovsky from entering Latvia on the basis of last week's recommendation by the National Security Council.
Kalvitis signed the decree in the capacity of acting interior minister, a position he is temporarily filling after the sudden resignation by Eriks Jekabsons, purportedly due to the council's recommendation.
Kalvitis denied the theory that the banning came on pressure from the Kremlin or the White House, a view many Latvian commentators 's and Berezovsky himself 's are claiming.
Berezovsky was quoted as saying that he believes Latvia's decision to declare him persona non grata was the result of intense pressure by Russia and structures linked with George Soros, the U.S. businessman/philanthropist who has had acrimonious relations with the former Russian oligarch.
"[There are] two reasons why Latvian authorities changed their opinion about his visits to Latvia 's the first is the increasing pressure from Russia, and the other one pressure from those structures that are linked with Soros," Berezovsky said in a statement according to the Baltic News Service.
Berezovsky, who visited Latvia twice this year, said he has asked his lawyers to look into whether he should appeal the decision in court.
During his first visit to Riga in the beginning of the year, Berezovsky met with Jekabsons and Parliament Chairmwoman Ingrida Udre. Strangely, it took both politicians several week to admit that they met him.
During each visit Russia sent an official letter to Latvia asking authorities to extradite the former oligarch, who is wanted by Russian prosecutors, but both times the request was denied.