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U.S. Students Kicked Out Of Russia

Four U.S. students have been kicked out of Russia after authorities there said they had the wrong visas.

The four were attending a two-week leadership conference in St. Petersburg on November 6 when immigration officers and police showed up and demanded to see their visas.

A father of one of the students told the AP news agency they were briefly detained while they were put on trial and fined the equivalent of $110 each.

They were questioned for a total of seven hours, first at their hotel and then at immigration offices.

State-run Russian news agency TASS cited Yulia Nikolayeva, a Federal Migration Service representative in St. Petersburg, as saying the four had come to Russia on tourist visas but were participating in what was considered "sociopolitical activity."

The conference was led by the Association of Young Leaders, a Russia-based association that teaches young people leadership skills.

The four flew back to the United States on November 11.

Based on reporting by AP, TASS, and the "San Jose Mercury-News"

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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