Drug Cops Can Bar Foreigners

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has authorized the Federal Drug Control Service to bar foreigners it deems "undesirable" from entering the country.

The service joins eight other federal ministries and agencies allowed to ban foreigners from Russian territory under Point 7 of Article 27 of the federal immigration law, according to a decree signed by Putin last week and published on the government's web site. The other agencies allowed to ban foreigners considered "undesirable" are: the Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service, the Foreign Intelligence Service, the Defense Ministry, the Justice Ministry, the Federal Financial Monitoring Service and the Health and Social Development Ministry.

Numerous foreign businessmen, journalists and human rights activists have been banned from entering the country in recent years under Article 27 of the immigration law, many of whom claim that they were targeted for political reasons or as part of illegal attacks on their businesses and assets in Russia.

In several of these cases, authorities have cited Point 1 of Article 27 of the immigration law, which states that a foreigner can be barred entry in order "to safeguard military preparedness, state security and public order of the Russian Federation, or the health and safety of its citizens."

The law does not state which federal agencies determine whether a foreigner represents a threat to state security.

Russia, like other countries, is under no obligation to explain its rationale for refusing or revoking visas.