More than 300 foreign journalists in an open letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov appealed for the release of Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich. Russian intelligence accused him of “espionage for the United States.” Gershkovich was detained on March 30 in Yekaterinburg, where he was collecting materials about the Wagner Group formation, recruiting mercenaries for the war with Ukraine.
“We’ve all worked in Russia as foreign correspondents, some for a few months, others for decades. We are shocked and shaken by the arrest and charges against our colleague Evan Gershkovich,” they wrote in an open letter to the foreign minister. Sergey Lavrov journalists from various editorial offices, including the BBC, the Washington Post, Newsweek, the New York Times, AFP and the Associated Press. The letter, written in English and Russian, has so far been signed by 301 journalists.
“Evan Gershkovich has a long and impressive career in journalism. We have no doubt that the sole purpose of his work was to inform readers about contemporary reality in Russia. The search for information, even if it goes against political interests, does not make Evan a criminal or a spy, but journalist. Journalism is not a crime, “the correspondents emphasized in the letter.
The signatories of the letter noted that the arrest of Gershkovich is a disturbing and dangerous signal about Russia’s disregard for independent media, and also demonstrates “indifference to the fate of a young, talented and honest journalist.”
Stop in Yekaterinburg
31-year-old journalist “The Wall Street Journal” Evan Gershkovich, citizen USA originally from Russia, was detained on March 30 in Yekaterinburg in the Urals. He had gone to this city to gather information about the private military formation Wagner Group, recruiting mercenaries for war in Ukraine. Gershkovich also collected Russian opinions on the armed invasion.
Russia’s Federal Security Service has accused a correspondent of an American newspaper of “espionage for the United States.”
In response to Gershkovich’s detention, the Wall Street Journal demanded the expulsion of the Russian ambassador and Russian journalists working in the United States.
Letters from readers
The Wall Street Journal correspondent is being held in a Moscow detention center in the Lefortovo district. Earlier, the independent Russian portal Meduza published letters from readers addressed to the detained American journalist. They wrote that “they are ashamed of Russia”, thanked him for his work as a journalist and expressed the hope that “he will soon be released”. Meduza stressed that she would forward the letters to the correspondent “at the earliest opportunity”.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV