MOSCOW, January 14 (RAPSI, Maria Petrova) - Moscow's Tagansky District Court ordered the deportation of American journalist David Satter for breaching Russian immigration law, a court press secretary told RAPSI Tuesday.
Satter is a former Financial Times correspondent and author of several books on Russia and the Soviet Union. He had been working in Moscow since last September. In December he flew to Kiev to renew his visa, but was told on Christmas Day by an embassy official in Kiev that his visa application had been denied, The Guardian reported.
According to the court spokesperson, US citizen Satter committed an administrative offense by breaching the rules of entering and residing in the country. “He was ordered to pay a fine of 5,000 rubles ($150) to the state and independently leave the country under supervision. He was informed that he had to leave Russia within five days of the court order taking effect. The resolution was made on November 29 last year.”
The spokesperson added that the journalist did not appeal against the court order.
Russian Foreign Ministry later added that Satter was banned from entering Russia for five-year period due to "gross violation of Russian migration policy." Satter entered Russia on November 21, 2013, after receiving his accreditation with the ministry, he was supposed to immediately visit the Federal Migration Service's office and receive a renewable visa. Satter appeared at the service's office on November 26, where he was denied the visa, for de facto illegaly staying in Russia for eight days, the Foreign Ministry says.
Satter, who has regularly visited Russia since 1969, had held his current position in Moscow as a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adviser since September. He had also been reporting and providing commentary to the outlet's Russian service.
RFE/RL spokeswoman Karisue Wyson was cited by Agence France Presse news agency as saying that Satter's problems began when he attempted to return to Russia from Ukraine after covering the recent mass anti-government protests there.
This is not the first instance in modern Russia of foreign journalists being barred from the country. Luke Harding, a correspondent for British newspaper The Guardian, was expelled from Russia in February 2011, a decision he attributed to his criticism of the government.
In 2012, French author Anne Nivat had her Russian visa annulled and was forced to leave the country after she was detained while purportedly working as a journalist without the correct paperwork. Nivat was later issued a multi-entry business visa.