The Russian state tried to intimidate its media with the shocking treatment of a star journalist, but they just showed they're not listening

ivan golunov

  • Russian police arrested and detained a prominent
    investigative journalist in an apparent threat to the country’s
    independent media outlets.
  • Golunov has been accused of drug dealing, which carries
    a sentence of ten to twenty years in prison.
  • He denies the charges, and his lawyer says police
    planted evidence to frame him.
  • On Monday, three prominent independent news outlets
    published identical front-page headlines in solidarity with
    Golunov.
  • It is a rare show of coordination given the divided
    Russian media landscape.
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    Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Russian government sent an obvious message to its
independent media by detaining a star investigative journalist.


Ivan Golunov, 36, was arrested in Moscow last Thursday
and
detained for two days. When next seen in public he had obvious
bruises, cuts, and other signs of having been attacked.

Golunov was accused of drug dealing, charges he says are
fabricated.

Whatever this was supposed to tell other journalists in
Golunov’s position, they’ve just sent an even clearer memo back:
We’re not listening.

Read more:
A Russian journalist who targets corruption was charged with drug
dealing, but his lawyer is accusing police of planting the
evidence

ivan golunov

Golunov, who works for the independent news site Meduza, is
known for his reports exposing corruption within Moscow’s political
and business elite,
Business Insider’s Ellen Cranley reported
.

Meduza said that it believes Golunov is innocent, and said that
he had been receiving threats in recent months over a story he was
working on.

“We have grounds to believe that Golunov is being persecuted
because of his journalistic activity,” Meduza said in its Saturday
statement, cited by Reuters.

Before appearing in court on Saturday, Golunov was taken to
hospital, with the independent Interfax news agency reporting that
the reporter had chest abrasions, bruised ribs, and suspected head
injuries — suggesting that he might have been attacked in
prison.

ivan golunov russia front pages

On Monday, three of Russia’s largest independent newspapers
published identical front-page headlines in solidarity with
Golunov. It is a rare show of coordination in Russia’s politically
diverse media landscape.

In a joint statement under the headline “I am/We are Ivan
Golunov,” Vedomosti, Komersant, and RBK questioned the evidence
against Golunov and demanded transparency and a review of police
behavior toward him.

“We expect law enforcement agencies to scrupulously observe the
law, and demand maximum openness when it comes to the
investigation,” the newspapers said, according to Reuters. “We
demand the law be respected by everyone and for everyone.”

Even the privately-owned, pro-Kremlin Komsomolskaya Pravda
newspaper said the investigation into Golunov needed “irrefutable
evidence,” or else it harms “the reputation of the law enforcement,
the country, and all of us,” BBC
Monitoring reported
.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Golunov’s lawyer previously told Reuters that police planted
drugs on his client to frame him.

Police initially released photos of drugs and scales in what
they said was Golunov’s home, but later retracted them saying the
photos had been taken in another flat, The Associated Press
reported.

Supporters described Golunov’s transfer from prison to house
arrest as a small victory, suggesting that the government had grown
nervous after the furious reaction to the arrest.

State TV on Sunday aired a program in which police officers
defended their evidence against Golunov, Reuters said.

BBC
Monitoring said
that the numerous Kremlin-controlled channels
have not otherwise covered the case.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has not commented on
Golunov.


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The Russian state tried to intimidate its media with the shocking treatment of a star journalist, but they just showed they're not listening