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Breaking Russia accuses former defense reporter of treason in growing crackdown on journalists

5 min read
The arrest of a highly regarded former journalist has set off major outcry among independent media outlets in Russia, which are calling the government's latest actions part of a burgeoning crackdown. Ivan Safronov, accused of spying for the Czech Republic and United States, was arrested Tuesday morning by agents from Russia's domestic security service, the…
Breaking Russia accuses former defense reporter of treason in growing crackdown on journalists

Breaking

The arrest of a extremely popular aged journalist has instantaneous important outcry amongst self reliant media retailers in Russia, that are calling the authorities’s newest actions portion of a burgeoning crackdown.

Ivan Safronov, accused of spying for the Czech Republic and United States, used to be arrested Tuesday morning by agents from Russia’s domestic security service, the FSB, which has accused him of inform treason, a worth that carries a that it’s probably you’ll presumably presumably presumably factor in 12- to 20-Three hundred and sixty five days penal complicated period of time.

Unless two months ago, Safronov used to be a reporter defending Russia’s defense and place of dwelling industries for a number one newspaper, Vedomosti, having spent a decade defending the identical beat at one other high paper, Kommersant. Since Can also, he has been a communications adviser for the pinnacle of Russia’s place of dwelling company, Roscosmos.

Safronov’s lawyer advised reporters on Tuesday the FSB accuses him of passing secret files to Czech intelligence about Russian palms deliveries to Africa and army activities in the Middle East. A Moscow court ordered him held for 2 months in pretrial detention in the metropolis’s Lefortovo penitentiary.

Used colleagues and journalists from other publications protested his arrest originate air FSB headquarters in Moscow on Tuesday, and bigger than two dozen had been detained by police. Three of Russia’s high news retailers, including his two aged papers, printed protests prominently on their sites, announcing the arrest used to be supposed to soundless down reporting in Russia.

Kommersant, the place Safronov labored for a decade, wrote that the accusations gave the affect “absurd” and known as him a “patriot.” But another main outlet, RBC, wrote that his arrest used to be “a signal” to Russian media and society no longer to write about secrets held by unprecedented of us.

Treason cases are classified, meaning Safronov’s trial shall be held in the support of closed doorways as even the prices introduced in opposition to him have a tendency to remain gloomy.

His lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, advised reporters on Tuesday the FSB alleges Safronov used to be recruited in 2012 by Czech intelligence and in 2017 allegedly used to be given the duty of passing alongside intelligence about the palms deliveries and army operations. That files allegedly used to be shared with the United States, added Pavlov, who advised reporters materials for the case crammed seven volumes, suggesting the FSB had been building a case in opposition to Safronov for moderately a whereas.

The Czech international ministry on Wednesday declined to reveal when reached by ABC Recordsdata.

Safronov, 30, is is known as for breaking reports on Russia’s extremely closed defense sector and had labored in the Kremlin media pool, which travels with Putin. That will not be at all times with out a doubt his first incompatibility with authorities: Closing Three hundred and sixty five days, he assuredly used to be puzzled by the FSB over an editorial he wrote about the sale of Russian warplanes to Egypt.

His father, Ivan Safronov, additionally used to be a defense reporter at Kommersant and in 2007 died after mysteriously falling from a window. His colleagues possess mentioned they tell he used to be murdered by Russia’s security companies and products over his work.

Russia’s place of dwelling company, Roscomos, has mentioned Safronov had no access to classified area materials in his characteristic, which he had occupied for supreme two months. The allegations as a substitute portray to a period when Safronov would had been working as a reporter at Kommersant.

Journalists and other consultants mentioned Safronov appears to be like to had been centered beneath an expanded definition of the treason legislation passed in 2012 in preserving with mass boulevard protests in opposition to President Vladimir Putin.

Safronov’s arrest, they mentioned, suggests this legislation has now been became on journalists amid a fresh crackdown that has coincided with strikes by the Kremlin to elongate Putin’s rule previous his period of points in time. Closing week, the Kremlin obtained a referendum on constitutional modifications that will enable Putin to remain in energy till 2036.

Andrey Soldatov, a frequent journalist and expert on Russian security companies and products, mentioned authorities beforehand had executed with out the usage of the treason legislation in opposition to journalists but that Safronov’s case confirmed the foundations had modified.

It “is a wholly original level of repression in opposition to journalism in the country,” Soldatov wrote.

“The FSB is making employ of its paranoid definition of espionage to journalists — and goes out of its manner to provide obvious every person knows. What’s more, senior leaders possess it appears to be like sanctioned the action,” Soldatov wrote in The Moscow Times.

The expanded legislation is so ample, Soldatov wrote, the FSB would not must point out a person used to be spying, easiest that they had been speaking with any “international organization” in repeat to accuse them of treason.

Safronov used to be arrested a day after a journalist used to be convicted in a single other high-profile case. Svetlana Prokopyeva had faced six years penal complicated for a portray extreme of security companies and products, but a mediate as a substitute fined her about $7,000.

Russian journalists additionally possess when put next Safronov’s case to that of Ivan Golunov, an investigative reporter whose arrest on crudely fabricated remedy prices last Three hundred and sixty five days sparked to take into accounta good outcry all via elite Russian society, forcing authorities lastly to drop the case.

The U.S. embassy in Moscow on Tuesday tweeted on Tuesday that following Safronov’s arrest, “It be initiating to see like a concerted marketing campaign in opposition to #MediaFreedom.”

Russia’s international ministry replied by tweeting, “Mind your individual industrial.”

The Kremlin has denied Safronov’s arrest is expounded to his journalistic work and downplayed the media outcry as “emotional.”

“Let’s no longer confuse a public response with a media response,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned in his daily briefing call. “We soundless presume that it has no relation to his journalistic exercise.”

It goes to’t be ruled out he acted as a gaze, Peskov added.

Soldatov, the safety companies and products expert, mentioned after all Safronov’s arrest confirmed that the Kremlin has unleashed the safety companies and products to lay down original boundaries for what may presumably presumably merely be reported on in Russia.

“Putin has now entrusted the ‘journalist save a query to of’ to his security companies and products,” Soldatov wrote in The Moscow Times. “We ought to be very skittish.”

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