The Russian Interior Ministry is attempting to ban “undesirable foreign citizens,” including political activists, from entering Russia, Izvestia reports.
According to the newspaper, a corresponding order has already been written up and posted online for public discussion and signed by Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev and the head of the Federal Migration Service.
Sources in the Ministry (MVD) said that the formal reason for the measure is the departure of the migration service from the MVD. Unofficially, however, they said it was intended as a way to deal with undesirable foreigners, such as political activists and religious radicals.
As an example of what the MVD is apparently concerned about, Izvestia noted an incident this past March during the Russian presidential election when women from the Ukrainian organization Femen stripped naked at the polling station where Vladimir Putin had cast his vote. The group was subsequently banned from the country.
The MVD black list would also include powerful foreign criminals, such as mafia bosses.
The Izvestia report stated that the foreign minister would personally decide the fate of each “undesirable” foreigner.
Human rights advocates fear that the measure could become a repressive instrument for the MVD to use for political purposes.
In February 2011, British journalist Luke Harding was stopped at passport control and denied entry to Russia with no explanation.
The Guardian, where Harding worked, believes that the decision to keep the journalist out of the country was made at the highest level of government in connection with the Guardian’s publication of documents from WikiLeaks that characterize the Russian government as a mafia state and suggesting the possible involvement of President Vladimir Putin in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.
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