Yesterday, it was reported that the Russian government has refused to re-admit David Satter, a journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and an NRO contributor. The Russian government has informed him that he is now considered a persona non grata in the country; the U.S. embassy in Moscow has taken up the issue with the Russian foreign ministry and demanded an explanation, but hasn’t received one. Following is the statement from Kevin Klose, president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:
I report today that the Russian government has denied a visa to David Satter, distinguished journalist adviser to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. (RFE/RL), and informed him he is persona non grata on the territory of the Russian Federation.
This expulsion of Mr. Satter is entirely without foundation or explanation. It is a fundamental violation of the right of free speech and journalistic liberty.
U.S. Embassy Moscow was immediately informed of this action against Mr. Satter and lodged a formal diplomatic protest with the Russian foreign ministry. The U.S. embassy has sought without success for an explanation from the Russian foreign ministry of this decision.
Mr. Satter and this company have acted in good faith at all times to conform to instructions conveyed from the Russian foreign ministry regarding Mr. Satter’s visa application.
Mr. Satter first received word on Dec. 12, 2013, from the foreign ministry that a visa for him was approved. This message was repeated on Dec. 16, 2013.
On Dec. 23, 2013, the foreign ministry issued an official visa-approval number to be presented by Mr. Satter to the Russian embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine.
When Mr. Satter went to the Russian embassy in Kyiv, he was informed that there was no approval for him under that official approval number. He was advised by the foreign ministry to return the next day, and speak with Alexei Gruby, an embassy diplomat.
On Dec. 25, Mr. Gruby told Mr. Satter that Russian “competent organs” had determined his presence on the territory of the Russian federation was undesirable and he was being barred entry to Russia.
Mr. Satter had been living and working in Russia as an RFE/RL adviser and journalist since September 2013 on a 1-year business visa.
Mr. Satter’s courageous, thoughtful journalism, analyses, and commentaries are critical to public understanding of the deepening challenges confronting Russia in this post-Soviet era.
We want nothing more than that Mr. Satter forthwith be able to return to Moscow, where he has lived and worked since September 2013, advising, reporting, and commenting for our Russian service and providing trenchant interviews, columns, and analyses to many news and opinion sites.
Mr. Satter, a Chicago native and U.S. citizen, has won acclaim and recognition as a foremost expert in Russia and the West.
Satter has most recently written for NRO from Ukraine, where he was following the protests there over the Ukrainian government’s drifting away from Western Europe and embrace of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.