Oleg Kozlovsky’s English Weblog

Politics, Democracy and Human Rights in Russia

FSB Bans Me from Travelling Abroad

with 6 comments

When one speaks of advantages of the Putin’s regime over the Soviet system, one achievement is almost never disputed—the freedom to travel abroad. In the USSR, very few people were able to visit the Soviet Bloc countries, and only a tiny minority could see the “capitalist world.” But after the USSR collapsed, Russia opened its borders, removed numerous obstacles for international travel, and millions of Russians could travel the world. After Putin came to power most of the freedoms we had enjoyed were reduced or eliminated, but this one was left almost untouched.

For me, this freedom seems to be over. Yesterday, I was informed that FSB is refusing to give their approval for re-issuing of my passport. The official reason is, they failed to receive information about whether I had access to any state secrets during my military service (which I, of course, hadn’t). Ironically, I was drafted into the army two years ago with direct involvement of FSB when they tried to isolate me during the presidential campaign. Now, they use it as an pretext for not letting me out the country.

Unfortunately, the FSB’s decision is already ruining some of my plans. In early February, I was going to visit the USA to speak at American Enterprise Institute about the freedom of assembly in Russia and to read a lecture for students at Principia College. These events will now be postponed or cancelled.

FSB is violating the law, which clearly says that a passport has to be issued within a month (almost two months passed already). I have filed a complaint to the prosecutor, but officials say, “You can’t beat FSB, they will always win.” True, FSB as a KGB successor consider themselves above the law and never mind to violate it in their interests. But I will use any legal methods and will eventually make them obey the law.

PS: Thanks to Robert Amsterdam for writing about the story.

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Written by Oleg Kozlovsky

January 22, 2010 at 00:29

6 Responses

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  1. You should be thankful to the FBS, Oleg.

    Their craven, cowardly action has only confirmed that you belong in the same company as all the other heroic Russians who have risked their lives and freedom to protect their country from totalitarian despair. They’ve confirmed that you are getting under the Kremlin’s skin, that you worry them, and that they can’t risk your being in contact with the outside world any more than the Politburo could take such risks.

    They’ve confirmed, in other words, that you are right in carrying out the work you do, and that your work is having its proper effect.

    Molodets!

    larussophobe

    January 22, 2010 at 00:56

  2. [...] fear the current leadership has for the existence of ideas which challenge their position. From Kozlovsky: When one speaks of advantages of the Putin’s regime over the Soviet system, there usually is [...]

  3. I am pleased to see that the FSB responded to the outcry over this situation, and reversed their decision and will give you back your passport.

    Be sure to let us know when you are in Washington and we will publish about it.

    James

    January 22, 2010 at 23:07

  4. [...] is an approximate chronicle of my struggle with FSB over my [...]

  5. Thanks, James! I’ve just posted an update on the story: http://olegkozlovsky.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/how-to-beat-fsb-in-24-hours/

    Oleg Kozlovsky

    January 22, 2010 at 23:15

  6. [...] is an approximate chronicle of my struggle with FSB, (the Russian successor to the KGB), over my [...]


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