January 14th, 2014
08:13 AM ET

American Journalist David Satter Kicked Out of Russia

Russia has expelled American journalist and author David Satter, a former Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times and a longtime critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Satter told followers on Twitter.

Satter, the author of three books on Russia and the former Soviet Union, had been working as an adviser to the U.S. broadcasters Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty since September.

"As some of you may know, I've been expelled from Russia," he wrote on his Twitter page Monday.

Satter told CNN he had gone to the Ukrainian capital Kiev to exchange his existing visa for a correspondent's visa when he was told his application had been rejected, on the grounds that his presence in Russia was "undesirable." He is now in London "until we figure out what to do next."

Satter is a former Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times and a fellow at Johns Hopkins University and the Hudson Institute, a U.S.-based think tank. He has written extensively on the history of Russia in the post-Soviet era.

In December, after suicide bombers killed more than 30 people in the Russian city of Volgograd, Satter wrote for CNN.com that visitors to the upcoming and highly touted Winter Olympics in the Black Sea city of Sochi "are walking into what effectively is a war zone." But he said he didn't know what prompted the government to kick him out now.

"I've always been critical of the Putin regime. This is nothing new," he said. "It may be that for reasons of their own, they've finally found that criticism to be more than they wanted to put up with. But there's actually quite a lot to criticize, so if you're going to report honestly from Russia, you almost have to be critical."

Satter said the language used to reject his visa hearkened back to the Cold War era and its application to a journalist was "unprecedented." But whether it reflected a shift in policy toward international newsgathering was unclear, he said.

"In any case, the expulsion of even one correspondent has an effect on everybody else because it makes it clear that critical reporting may incur a very serious cost," he said.

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