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US journalist expelled from Russia for 5 years due to visa violations

Published time: January 14, 2014 10:10
Edited time: January 14, 2014 12:20
David Satter.(Photo from

David Satter.(Photo from

A US journalist and writer, who said he has been expelled from Russia for critical reporting, has violated the country’s migration laws and spent several days there illegally, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

David Satter, who used to be Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times and correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in the 1970-80s, complained on Monday that he was not allowed to return to Russia from Ukraine last month.

“In November 2013 Moscow’s Tagansky Court found Satter guilty of an administrative violation. He admitted his guilt. The court ruled a punishment in the form of a fine and an expulsion from Russia,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Migration authorities banned him from entering Russia for five years starting on the day of deportation,” it added.

The 66-year-old described his situation as an expulsion of a US journalist unheard of since the Cold War era.

Speaking to the Guardian from London, Satter said: "My position is that this ban should be reversed immediately."

Satter said he left Russia for Kiev last month to renew his visa. But he was told at the embassy that his return would not be possible. The writer alleges that he was barred from entering Russia by security services.

"They know me very, very well," Satter told the AP. "I have been writing about Russia, writing about the Soviet Union almost for four decades. To say that I'm not allowed on the territory of the Russian Federation at the request of the security services this I haven't seen applied to a journalist in my entire career of writing about Russia."

The Soviet-era journalist came to Moscow in September 2013 and has been working there as an adviser for Radio Europe/Radio Free Liberty, a US Congress-funded media outlet. The radio station said the US embassy had sought an explanation for Russian authorities without success.

The situation is reminiscent the debacle of the Guardian’s Luke Harding, who reported on Russia for the British newspaper and authored a book criticizing the Russian government. In February 2011 he reported that he had been refused entry into Russia.

The situation was discussed on governmental level between UK and Russia and prompted comments from Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Lavrov said that Harding’s visa was not renewed due to his violation of counter-terrorism regulations, which require a foreign journalist to inform security services when entering a restricted area.

Despite this, Russia was prepared to give him a temporary permit to stay and work in Russia, the minister said. Harding chose not to submit the necessary papers, and instead started a media scandal over his “expulsion”.

Comments (38)


Lucio Marques 27.03.2014 20:49

Derek Maher 11.03.2014 17:56

Russia is showing some taste in who they allow into their country.


sure? sow law is aplicable to all Population of the World except USD "Jurnalist" ;? Can I go to USA without Visa, or violating the Visa Law? If I can, tomorrow I´ll buy the ticket, I what to Report the Bad things that are happening in the USA.


Ursula Riches 24.03.2014 21:54

If journalists want to claim privileges, then they should stop working as secret service personnel. Libya was not reported on by anyone other than freelancers, the rest were paid to write nonsense. Good journalists are murdered by the terrorists we support in Syria & Libya. There is no Western free press, it is all propaganda, in other worlds, Western Journalism is DEAD.


Derek Maher 11.03.2014 17:56

Russia is showing some taste in who they allow into their country.

View all comments (38)
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