Russia refuses to renew American reporter’s credentials
RUSSIA–After almost three months of diplomatic overtures and conflicts with the Russian government, as of late July an American journalist still had not been re-issued a visa to allow him entry to the country.
Steve Levine, a freelance reporter who covers Central Asia for Newsweek and The Washington Post, was first denied entry to Russia April 26 at a Moscow airport.
Levine has since reapplied for a single-entry visa, but his request was denied by Russian officials in mid-June.
Andrew Nagorski, Newsweek’s Moscow bureau chief, said that Russian officials previously had indicated they would probably grant Levine a single-entry visa. Levine had intended to use the visa to visit Moscow, where he had hoped to plead his case for reinstatement.
“Russian officials are keeping up the pretense that they have nothing against him personally or professionally in Russia,” Nagorski said.
Russian officials have said Levine was denied entry under a 1992 Commonwealth of Independent States treaty, which states that people not welcome in one republic will not be granted entry to other republics.
Last September, Uzbekistan denied Levine’s request to renew his multiple-entry visa and accreditation after he published articles which the government considered negative toward Uzbek President Islam Karimov.
But Nagorski said that even after Uzbekistan had declared Levine persona non grata, Levine visited Moscow several times. He has since had credentials issued by the republics of Georgia and Kazakhstan, which are also signatories to the CIS treaty, Nagorski added.
Levine has said he will continue trying to regain his credentials through both U.S. and Russian diplomatic channels.