Photojournalist Denied Entry Into Russia, Allegedly Due to Disparaging Project


Just a couple of weeks before his award-winning work is supposed to appear in a major Netherlands-Russia bilateral year exhibition, Dutch photojournalist Rob Hornstra has had his application for a Russian visa denied.

Hornstra, whose “Sochi Project” with writer/filmmaker Arnold Van Bruggen paints the host country of the 2014 Winter Olympics in a less-than-favorable light, believes that this move is a result of that project.

“The Sochi Project” — part of which won Hornstra a World Press Photo award — is a four-year-long documentary project that seeks to shed light on the whole story behind the North Caucuses region where Russia is spending a record $50 billion to prepare for the upcoming Olympic games.

Rob Hornstra

Sochi, if you will, is the epicenter of this project, and the entire reason it was started in the first place. The project’s intro video juxtaposes President Vladimir Putin’s acceptance of the Sochi bid with statements like “up in the mountains of the Caucasus there’s not only snow but an ongoing war against separatist rebels,” and “on the other side of the mountains lies Russia’s poorest region.”

It’s understandable, then, that Hornstra believes this is the reason behind his visa denial. The Russian government, however, has been quiet on the issue. According to RIA Novosti, Dutch officials haven’t been able to get an official response out of Russian authorities as to why the visa was denied.

For now, there’s nothing Hornstra can do but wait for a response or hope that Russian officials change their mind. But chances that he’s going to make it to that exhibition are slim… and more devastating… so are the chances that him and Van Bruggen (whose visa application is currently pending) will get to finish this project they started so long ago.

(via Reddit)

Image credit: Rob Honstra by Marieke Wijntjes.

  • Tavis Dunn

    Why the picture of Vancouver? I mean, i see the tiny little sign of Sochi 2014 on the Science World ball. But that is a picture of Vancouver.

  • DLCade

    It was acting as a placeholder until we found something better :) It’s been changed

  • Carl Meyer

    Hanging around with outlaws or traveling to certain regions without he proper paperwork are more probable causes behind this affair.

    Sochi and it’s inhabitants are notorious for their shady schemes and questionable customs since ever so there’s nothing new in his work to even raise an eyebrow.

  • BrokenPencil

    I know right. Maybe peta can add this very small list of people banned from traveling to the states ;) wikipedia List_of_people_barred_or_excluded_from_the_United_States

  • Mike

    First of all there are no separatist rebels in Russia only terrorists, second it is their country and they are allowed to admit only whom they wanted.

  • asinggapataan autakaaran

    Rob Hornstra is a very good photographer. Been following him for some time now.

  • mmmmmmmm

    Just like China this is an awesome place to hold the olympics, because they might change their views on human rights. Not.

  • Chakra

    Well, now he can try some luck with UK visa for Northern Ireland separatists project, or Nothern Cyprus.