Russia is about to host the Winter Olympics, welcoming thousands of athletes from around the world. But Moscow has quietly decided there is one person who cannot enter the country.

The American author and journalist David Satter, who has been advising Radio Liberty and has written three books about the Soviet Union and Russia, was informed Dec. 25 that he would not be granted a visa.

According to Satter, the Russian authorities told him:

“The competent organs have decided that your presence on the territory of the Russian Federation is undesirable.” The “competent organs” is an old euphemism for the security services.

President Vladimir Putin has not tolerated a healthy civil society in Russia. He seems enamored of an age when unpleasant voices could be silenced.

This was the conceit of the Soviet party-state: Books could be banned, dissidents silenced and borders closed. It was the work of the Soviet KGB, Putin’s onetime employer.

In today’s world, in the digital age, Russia has no borders when it comes to ideas and words.

Satter’s work will be read in Russia, whether he writes from within or without.

When Putin throws open the doors of Russia to Olympic athletes, he should welcome all those who play on the field of ideas and principles, including Satter.

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