Russia, which has cracked down on Western journalists since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine began last year, has expelled a Politico reporter, allegedly without providing a clear reason.
Eva Hartog, a Dutch citizen who is also a columnist for the Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer, announced the development on Wednesday.
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“I was informed by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that for the first time in ten years, my visa will not be renewed. The decision was taken by the ‘competent authorities’, a term often used for the security services. Under international law, no reason or explanation was owed to me,” Hartog wrote in a column for De Groene Amsterdammer.
“I was given six days to wrap up my life.”
Jamil Anderlini, editor of Politico Europe, said in a statement that Hartog “has safely departed Moscow after the renewal of her visa and transfer of her press accreditation to Politico were rejected by the Russian authorities.”
“We are extremely disappointed by these actions, but they do not diminish Politico’s unwavering commitment to covering the Russian government and its war in Ukraine. We hope that Eva and Politico will return to Moscow in the near future to continue our factual and nonpartisan coverage of Russian politics,” he said.
Hartog was formerly the editor of The Moscow Times, a Russian news outlet which is often critical of the Kremlin and left Russia soon after the Ukraine war started.
Last year, Kremlin authorities toughened censorship laws and heightened a crackdown on local and foreign media.
A month after invading Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law ordering the imprisonment of anyone who spreads “fake information” about the Russian military.
According to CPJ, 19 journalists are currently languishing in Russian jails, while seven are missing.
JOURNALISM IS NOT A CRIME
Our dear friend @evangershkovich will spend the next months in a Moscow prison. We’d love for him to know how much he is supported. If you would like to write to him, please use: FreeGershkovich@gmail.com#FreeEvanGershkovich #FreeEvan pic.twitter.com/VP2TBqBm2J
— Eva Hartog (@EvaHartog) March 31, 2023
After the arrest of the Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich in March, which sent shockwaves around the world, Kremlin spokesperson Dimitry Peskov said that the US citizen had been “caught red-handed” while spying.
Gershkovich and his paper have denied all the claims against him.
Hartog said independent journalism is unachievable in Russia today, “despite dozens of colleagues who still do fantastic work there”.
“I am unpleasantly surprised,” she wrote in De Groene Amsterdammer.