A few weeks ago, American journalist Ivan Gershkovich, a living symbol of the current strained relations between Moscow and Washington, was arrested in Russia for more than six months on suspicion of espionage, and was once again rejected by the courts. Independence. Yesterday Wednesday, it became clear that the crackdown on press freedom and freedom of expression in Putin’s Russia took another step downward: in Kazan, the capital of the Tatar Republic, Alsu Kurmasheva, a journalist with a dual Russian passport, was arrested and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (a pro-Western broadcaster) for Tatarstan and the Republic of Bashkortostan ) worked on the service Idel.Realii.
Idel.Realii broke the news. Kurmasheva was effectively jailed for non-cooperation with her own inclusion on a blacklist: she did not provide documentation of her inclusion in a register of so-called foreign agents. It is a perverse creation of the Putin regime, which has attributed this defamation label (which is tantamount to admitting acting in the interests of foreign countries against the interests of the Russian state) to its critics. Anyone who finds it stuck will automatically be subject to continued restrictions on their professional activities in Russia, based on the Freedom Killing Act.
In fact, Kurmasheva had to stop her journalistic activities in Russia some time ago. Since Idel.Realii has been labeled as a foreign agent since 2017, he moved his residence to the Czech Republic, however, last May, due to a family problem, he had to return to his homeland on June 2. To board the return flight in Prague, she was arrested, had both of her passports confiscated, and had to pay a fine for failing to inform Russian authorities that she, too, had American citizenship. He was waiting for his documents to be returned when he was re-arrested on Wednesday on what appeared to be a new pretext for holding an American citizen hostage, unable to leave Russia.
The most serious of the charges against the journalist is that he collected information about Russia’s military operations and passed it on to foreign representatives and provided a transcript (reported yesterday by Moscow-controlled Tatar media). His books are “Privately at the White House,” complete with a personal copy given to President Joe Biden. In short, a classic portrait of a spy in the service of the Americans married to Pavel Budorin, a Russian journalist disliked by the Kremlin, who runs a Russian-language TV channel in Prague, a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty outlet.
Alsu Kurmasheva’s future looks very leaden and like Gershkovich’s future. A week ago, the three defense lawyers of the number one Russian political prisoner, Alexei Navalny, were arrested in Moscow, and yesterday the former director of the Russian Space Agency, Vladimir Meshko, was also added to the Russian international wanted list: he was charged with fraud and large-scale theft based on an investigation launched in 2019, which practically led to the heads of Roscosmos. Destroyed.
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