Home of another investigative journalist raided in Russia
Police in Russia have raided the home of the chief editor of an investigative media outlet recently designated a “foreign agent”.
Roman Dobrokhotov, chief editor of The Insider news site, tweeted today that “police are knocking” on the door of his apartment.
“Looks like it’s a raid,” Mr Dobrokhotov added.
The incident is the latest step by authorities to raise pressure on independent media ahead of the country’s September parliamentary election.
OVD-Info, a legal aid group that monitors political arrests, said Mr Dobrokhotov’s wife called the group’s hotline and reported a police raid before her phone became unavailable.
A lawyer had headed to Mr Dobrokhotov’s apartment, OVD-Info said.
Russian opposition supporters, independent journalists and human rights activists have faced increased government pressure ahead of September’s voting, which is widely seen as an important part of President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to cement his rule before a 2024 presidential election.
The 68-year-old Russian leader, who has been in power for more than two decades, pushed through constitutional changes last year that would potentially allow him to hold on to power until 2036.
In recent months, the government has designated several independent media outlets and journalists as “foreign agents” — a label that implies additional government scrutiny and carries connotations that could discredit the recipients.
The targeted outlets include VTimes and Meduza.
VTimes subsequently shut down, citing the loss of advertisers, and Meduza launched a crowd-funding campaign after encountering the same problem.
The Insider was the latest addition to the list.
The news outlet, which is registered in Latvia, has worked with the investigative group Bellingcat to investigate high-profile cases, such as the nerve agent poisonings of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
The Russian Justice Ministry acted under a law that is used to designate as foreign agents non-governmental organisations, media outlets and individuals who receive foreign funding and engage in activities loosely described as political.
In comments to the media, Mr Dobrokhotov has said The Insider would continue to operate as usual, in accordance with Latvian laws, and would not comply with the requirements of the foreign agents law.
Sergei Yezhov, a journalist with The Insider, tweeted that Mr Dobrokhotov was supposed to leave Russia on Wednesday. Police also raided the home of Mr Dobrokhotov’s parents, The Insider said.
According to the news outlet, the searches may be related to a slander case launched in April following a complaint by a Dutch blogger The Insider had accused of working with the Russian intelligence services.
Russia: IPI condemns police raid on home of Roman @Dobrokhotov, editor-in-chief of investigative outlet @the_ins_ru, which was last week added to list of "foreign agents". This is the latest part of a widening crackdown on critical media ahead of electionshttps://t.co/fg2KVmm88m pic.twitter.com/Cegz2CVN4W— IPI - The Global Network for Press Freedom (@globalfreemedia) July 28, 2021