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Russia Expels U.S. Journalist Living In Moscow

American journalist and scholar David Satter says he has been barred from Russia for at least five years by the country's security services.
Posted at 11:18 AM, Jan 14, 2014

In a rare move not often seen since the end of the Cold War, Russia has expelled a U.S. journalist living in Moscow.

American journalist and scholar David Satter confirmed via Twitter he has been barred from Russia for at least five years by the country's security services. 

In an interview with The Guardian, the former Wall Street Journal and Radio Free Europe correspondent says he was about to renew his visa when he was told his presence in the country was "undesirable." 

The Guardian explains a Russian diplomat read Satter this prepared statement when he was expelled:

"The competent organs have decided that your presence on the territory of the Russian Federation is not desirable. You are banned from entering Russia."

The term competent organs commonly refers to the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB — the country's powerful spy and counter-intelligence agency. Here's what Satter told CNN Tuesday morning: 

"That's a formula that's used generally in spy cases. I've been reporting and writing about Russia for almost four decades. In that time, I've never heard that formulation applied to a journalist before."

At first, Russia refused to provide the U.S. Embassy there an explanation for Satter's expulsion.  

But Tuesday morning the country's foreign ministry released a statement claiming the journalist committed a "flagrant violation" of migration rules, and was five days late in applying for the correct visa. (Via Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Satter says that accusation is "an attempt to confuse world opinion." His expulsion is viewed by as many as a further crackdown on those critical of President Vladimir Putin ahead of new month's Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.  

Satter wrote a piece for CNN.com after a suicide bombing in the Russian city Volgograd killed 30 people in December, explaining those traveling to Sochi "are walking into what effectively is a war zone."

Satter says he's always been critical of Putin and is unsure why the country would kick him now for his criticism. He is currently staying in London until he figures out what his next course of action is.