The Kremlin thought its action in denying the head of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, permission to enter Russia it was preventing him from informing the Russian people about human rights violations in their land. The Foreign Ministry has ever right to deny a visa to someone with whose views they disagree but sometimes silence may produce better results than vocal complaints. By refusing Roth entry, the Foreign Ministry shot itself in the foot. Had Roth been allowed to enter Russia, his report might have been noted in a few newspapers, but it hardly would have attracted attention of the world media. The refusal made the front pages of several Russian newspapers and was widely reported in newspapers and television throughout the world, and the Internet had a field day covering the story.
Roth told the press this is the first time any member of Human Rights Watch has been denied entry into Russia and only the second time any country has barred their entry. Putin is so cocksure he can run everything and has demolished opposition so the very thought of anyone being critical apparently upsets the Russian quarterback of authoritarianism. Welcome to the 21st century, Mr. Putin, the media comes in many shapes and can not be silenced.