The Russian government has denied American journalist David Satter’s visa request and banned him from the country, in what is reportedly the first such ousting since the U.S.S.R. disbanded in 1991. Satter had been working in Russia since September 2013 as an adviser for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), a broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress. A former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, the Rhodes Scholar has also published three non-fiction books on Russia.
On Monday, Radio Free Europe’s president confirmed that Satter’s visa had been denied and that no explanation has been given for his expulsion. In December, according to RFE/RL, Satter was informed that his visa request had been approved and was told to present the official notification number he received to the Russian Embassy in Kiev.
When Satter arrived in the Ukrainian capital, however, he says he was informed that his presence in Russia was “undesirable” and that his visa request was denied.
“My position is that this ban should be reversed immediately,” Satter told the Guardian from London.
According to Radio Free Europe, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow has issued a formal diplomatic protest with the Russian Foreign Ministry. While in Russia, Satter was reporting for the news agency’s Russian Service and providing interviews to other news and opinion websites.