Dutch journalist leaves Russia after her visa was not renewed

Dutch journalist Eva Hartog says Russian authorities refused to renew the visa and gave her six days to leave the country after 10 years of living and reporting in Russia

ByDASHA LITVINOVA Associated Press
August 16, 2023, 12:12 PM

TALLINN, Estonia -- Russian authorities refused to renew the visa for Dutch journalist Eva Hartog, who has lived and worked in the country for 10 years, and gave her six days to leave Russia, she said in a column published Wednesday.

Her effective expulsion is one of several in recent years and comes amid a monthslong crackdown that the Kremlin has unleashed on independent journalists, critical news outlets, opposition activists and human rights groups. The pressure has mounted further since Moscow launched its war on Ukraine almost 18 months ago.

Hartog, a Dutch national, has in recent years been writing for the Dutch news magazine De Groene Amsterdammer and for Politico Europe. She first came to Moscow in 2013, Politico reported on Wednesday, and worked as a web editor and then chief editor for The Moscow Times.

Hartog said in a column in De Groene Amsterdammer published Wednesday that Russia's Foreign Ministry informed her last Monday her visa would not be renewed and gave her six days to leave.

Politico said Hartog was told the decision was made by the “relevant authorities,” but no additional information was given to her. She has since left Russia, according to the outlet.

“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,” Jamil Anderlini, Politico Europe’s editor-in-chief, said in a statement.

On Tuesday, one of Sweden’s largest newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, said its correspondent in Russia, Anna-Lena Laurén, has been told that her credentials will not be renewed. She has been in Moscow since 2016.

Swedish news agency TT said Laurén left Russia sometime in the spring of 2023 after she had come under criticism from the Russian ambassador in Sweden for allegedly writing lies about Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. She then left the country and has not returned since.

“I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back,” Laurén wrote. She said she hoped the authorities would change their decision.

Russia's Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decisions regarding Hartog and Laurén.

Independent media and journalists in Russia have come under increasing pressure from the government in recent years which intensified significantly after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Multiple Russian news outlets have been blocked online, labeled as “foreign agents” or outlawed as “undesirable” organizations.

A number of foreign journalists have been expelled from the country, or faced the Foreign Ministry's refusal to extend their visas.

In August 2021, the Foreign Ministry refused to renew the visa for BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford amid tensions with the U.K. Several months later, the Russian authorities expelled Tom Vennink, a Moscow correspondent for the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, citing “administrative violations.”

In May 2022, when the fighting in Ukraine was in full swing, the Russian authorities closed the bureau of Canada's broadcaster the CBC and stripped its journalists of visas and credentials.

In March 2023, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested on a reporting trip to Russia and later charged with espionage — allegations he and his employer vehemently denied, while the U.S. government declared him to be wrongfully detained.


Associated Press writer Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.

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