Luke Harding

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Luke Daniel Harding (born 1968) is a British journalist working as a foreign correspondent for The Guardian. He was the correspondent of The Guardian in Russia from 2007 until, returning from a stay in the UK on February 5, 2011, he was refused re-entry to Russia and deported back the same day.[1] The Guardian said his expulsion was linked with his critical articles on Russia,[2] while Russia's foreign ministry said that an extended certificate of foreign correspondence was not obtained in time.[3] After the reversal of the decision on February 9 and the granting of a short-term visa, Harding chose not to seek a further visa extension.[2]

His 2011 book Mafia State discusses his experience in Russia and the political system under Vladimir Putin, which he describes as a mafia state.

Early life and career[edit]

Harding studied English at University College, Oxford. While there he edited the student newspaper Cherwell. He worked for The Sunday Correspondent, the Evening Argus in Brighton and then the Daily Mail before joining The Guardian in 1996.

He has lived in and reported from Delhi, Berlin and Moscow and has covered wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.[4]

Russian expulsion[edit]

In February 2011 Harding was refused re-entry into Russia. He became the first foreign journalist to be expelled from Russia since the end of the Cold War. The Guardian said his expulsion was linked with his unflattering coverage of Russia, including speculation about Vladimir Putin's wealth and Putin's knowledge of the London assassination of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.[2] The director of Index on Censorship, John Kampfner, said "The Russian government's treatment of Luke Harding is petty and vindictive, and evidence – if more was needed – of the poor state of free expression in that country."[5] Elsa Vidal, head of the European and Central Asia desk at the media freedom watchdog, was quoted in The Washington Post as saying: "This is a serious and shocking step, unprecedented since the Cold War [...] It's an attempt to force correspondents working for foreign media in Moscow to engage in self-censorship."[6]

The expulsion preceded a visit to Britain by Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, which led to suggestions from Labour MP Chris Bryant that the British government might rescind Lavrov's invitation.[7] On 9 February Russia reversed the decision not to re-admit him[2] although it only granted him a short term visa. Harding chose not to seek a further visa and returned to the UK in February. Harding has said that during his time in Russia he was the subject of largely psychological harassment by the Federal Security Service, whom he alleges were unhappy at the stories he wrote.[8]

Harding is currently based in London.[9]

Edward Snowden[edit]

Main article: The Snowden Files

Harding's book on Edward Snowden, The Snowden Files (2014), received positive reviews from the The Guardian[10] and the London Review of Books,[11] and a mixed review from The Daily Telegraph's David Blair.[12]

Works[edit]

  • Libya: Murder in Benghazi and the Fall of Gaddafi (October 20, 2012), co-written with Martin Chulov. Short e-book, account of the moment of Gaddafi's capture and the current state of Libya.[15]
  • The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man, Vintage Books (NY, February 7, 2014), ISBN 978-0804173520; Guardian Faber Publishing (UK, February 6, 2014), ISBN 978-1783350353. Harding tells Edward Snowden's story from the day he left his girlfriend in Honolulu carrying a hard drive full of secrets, to the weeks of his secret-spilling in Hong Kong, to his battle for asylum and his exile in Moscow.

Notes[edit]

^a Published in the US as Expelled

References[edit]

External links[edit]