American journalist Evan Gershkovich has been arrested in Russia and is being accused of spying.
Gershkovich, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was apprehended by Russia’s FSB national security agency in the city of Yekaterinburg, about 1,000 miles east of Moscow.
The WSJ is demanding that Gershkovich be let free and says all charges against him are groundless.
What Are the Accusations?
Gershkovich is accused by Russia of trying to collect information from Russian companies that work to supply the Russian military.
This attempt to get secret material from the nation’s “military-industrial” sector was being done to spy on behalf of western spy agencies, according to Russia.
The WSJ says it is completely false and is an “outrage” that exists only for Gershkovich “doing his job.”
Statement from @WSJ on reporter Evan Gershkovich #IStandWithEvan https://t.co/lAACGsDEei pic.twitter.com/wzaXWk4KaN
— WSJ Communications (@WSJPR) April 1, 2023
Tensions are extremely high at the moment, over one year into Russia’s war with Ukraine. Crackdowns on protesters and journalists are increasing inside the country.
Even those who just speak out against the war in public are sometimes cracked down on by Russia’s state security.
A Russian man who posted critical things about Russia’s war in Ukraine on social media was recently handed two years in jail and his teen daughter was taken to an orphanage.
Gershkovich is the latest victim of what’s becoming an increasingly tense standoff between NATO and Russia.
WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich, the American son of Soviet-born Jewish exiles, grew to love Russia. Espionage charges leave him facing a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
This is an account of his life and work, available to all readers. https://t.co/dHCvvzRSQ4
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) March 31, 2023
What Happens Next?
Russia claims Gershkovich was caught “red-handed” trying to steal secret military information. The WSJ says the charges are completely false and he was doing no such thing.
Whether or not he’s actually guilty, Russia does not hand down espionage charges and then find people not guilty.
In fact,n it’s been over two decades since somebody was charged with spying in Russia and found innocent. Gershkovich is going to be wanting to exert maximum pressure and call in every favor possible at this point.
At this point, we can only follow the case and continue to see what happens.This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.