On March 10 the Russian Embassy in Norway published a commentary on the situation with the Norwegian journalist Thomas Nilsen, who was denied entry to Russia on March 9. The commentary says that Nielsen is included in the stop list compiled by the Russian side.
The text states that "the drawing up of two stop lists by the Russian side is a response to Norway's accession to the personal sanctions list of the European Union and a permanent character of the discriminatory order of entry of Russian citizens to Svalbard in accordance with Prescription No. 96 from February 3, 1995 "On Deportation and Expulsion from the Spitsbergen Archipelago". Nilsen's colleagues from The Independent Barents Observer suggested that the editor-in-chief of the online journal was included in the stop list because of his journalistic activities. It was Nilsen who first published a note on the visit of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin to the Svalbard archipelago. According to the Norwegian authorities, who joined the European sanctions against Russia, Rogozin did not have right to be on the territory of Spitsbergen, since it belonged to the jurisdiction of Norway.
The Russian embassy in Norway insists that "it is not going to spin the spiral of sanctions", calls on "Norwegian partners to discuss mutual cancelation of such restrictions" and recalls that "because of sanctions, Russian journalists also face restrictions on work and entry to European countries". Apparently, it means the leader of the "News of the Week" Dmitry Kiselev, who was not allowed to enter Norway for fishing in April 2014. This was also reported by BarentsObserver. Situation with Nilsen is different as he went to Russia to work, not to have rest.
Two days ago FSB officers did not allow the journalist to enter the country, explaining this by the need to ensure "national security of the country". However, on the eve of this event website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia published information refuting a threat of national security, coming from Nilsen. It turned out that Russian diplomats put him on the sanctions list back in late November 2016. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs should have been allegedly report this to Nilsen.
The Independent Barents Observer is the only bilingual publication that publishes materials on the Barents region's policy, economy, society and culture in English and Russian.
Thomas Nilsen, who was banned from entering Russia, had previously been editor of the Barents Observer, which belonged to the councils of the North Norwegian communes. He was dismissed from his post by the owners of the media in September 2015; after that the entire editorial staff also resigned. In October 2015, journalists established a new online journal, calling it The Independent Barents Observer. It has also been published in Russian since October 2016.
Gleb Yarovoy, «7x7»