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SBD Global/October 2, 2013/Olympics

Dutch Photojournalist Claims Russian Authorities Denied Entry For Sochi Reporting

An award-winning Dutch photojournalist who has been working in Russia's North Caucasus region for five years "has been refused a Russian visa in what he says was likely an attempt to suspend his critical reporting" ahead of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to Yekaterina Kravtsova of the MOSCOW TIMES. Photojournalist Rob Hornstra and his colleague, writer Arnold Van Bruggen, "have produced a series of reports from Sochi and its surrounding areas as part of a project that has seen the pair interview local residents to document ongoing trouble and human rights violations in the North Caucasus." Hornstra said that the Dutch Embassy "had asked Russian authorities to cite a reason for the visa refusal," but that no official explanation "had been provided yet." The Dutch Embassy "could not be reached for comment." The Sochi Project was launched by Hornstra and Van Bruggen in '09 after Sochi "was announced as the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics." In an interview with Lenta.ru in '12, Hornstra said that the main aim of the project "was to determine why there were ethnic tensions in the region and how these tensions could influence the Sochi Games, as well as how the games could influence the lives of the region's residents living below the poverty line" (MOSCOW TIMES, 9/30).
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