Russia Arrested US Journalist Evan Gershkovich – 1st Time Since Cold War

The "unwritten" rule is gone

There was once an “unwritten rule” against Russia targeting American journalists for arrest as spies. The rule is apparently gone now, as Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested in Yekaterinburg and arraigned in Moscow on Thursday. It is the first arrest of a US reporter on espionage charges since 1986.

Evan Gershkovich works for the Wall Street Journal. He is credentialled to work in Russia, but that seems to have little impact at this time. The FSB found a “hook” to arrest him for something, and have yet to allow his defense lawyer access to it.

Gershkovich was born to Russian parents, but he is an American journalist, not a CIA spy. What was he doing in Yekaterinburg? The BBC’s excellent Russia service reports that he may have tried to visit the nearby Uralvagonzavod tank factory. If so, that visit is probably the hook that the FSB needed to concoct a (very, very thin) espionage pretense for its unjustifiable arrest. Gershkovich may also have been in Yekaterinburg to report on Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group. A recruitment center for the mercenary organization was opened in the city earlier this month, with an advertisement noting that candidates would have to pass fitness tests. Washington Examiner

The Wall Street Journal vigorously denied the charge of espionage and demanded his return. The Russian court ruled that he would remain in custody as the “investigation” continued. Through his lawyer, Gershkovich  plead not guilty.

For its part, Russia claims they caught him ‘red-handed.’ Yet his attorneys have not yet been allowed to see the charges against him. Experts state that the arrest has all the earmarks of a retaliation move against the United States.

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Another prominent lawyer with the First Department group, Yevgeny Smirnov, said that those arrested on espionage and treason charges are usually held at the FSB’s Lefortovo prison, where they are usually held in a total isolation, without phone calls, visitors or even access to newspapers. At most, they can receive letters, often delayed by weeks. Smirnov called these conditions “tools of suppression.”          Breitbart

For reference, there have been no acquittals in an espionage case in Russia since 1999. Gershkovich faces 20 years in prison.



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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. She has been writing at Conservative Firing Line since 2013 as well. She is also a published author.

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