Russia’s Supreme Court on May 25, 2018, upheld a December 4, 2017, decision of a Moscow city court to bar Norwegian journalist Thomas Nilsen from traveling to Russia for five years, according to media reports.
Nilsen, the editor of The Independent Barents Observer, was initially denied entry to Russia on March 8, 2017, when he arrived at the Borisoglebsk checkpoint on the Russian-Norwegian border to report on the Danish Parliament’s delegation visit to Russia, his employer reported at the time. The border guards informed him that the Russian security service, the FSB, denied him entry and canceled his five-year multi-entry Russian journalist visa for “the purpose of [Russian] state security,” Nilsen told the outlet.
On March 10, 2017, the Russian Embassy in Oslo issued a statement confirming that Russia had created two “stop-lists” of individuals barred from entering Russia as a “response to Norway’s joining the European Union’s personal sanction list” against Russia. The statement did not name any individuals. Nilsen subsequently took the FSB to court. Following the high court’s decision, Nilsen said he would proceed to the European Court of Human Rights.
Nilsen’s employer said the journalist’s coverage of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin’s controversial visit to Norway’s Svalbard archipelago in April 2015 may have led to the ban. Rogozin took a trip to the archipelago despite being on Norway’s list of sanctioned individuals.
The Independent Barents Observer is an independent, journalist-owned newspaper based in Norway covering developments in the European and Russian Arctic. It produces content in English and Russian.