UPDATE: Moscow says ‘Gershkovich’s activities had nothing to do with journalism’ after Wall Street Journal reporter arrested

Russia formally charges Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich with espionage

Image of Wall Street journalist Evan Gershkovich. Credit: Evan Gershkovich

UPDATE March 30 (2.34 pm) – Government in Russia issues statement after Wall Street Journal reporter detained on espionage charges  

According to Russian state media TASS, the Wall Street Journal reporter detained by the State Security Service on Thursday, March 30, had “nothing to do with journalism”.  

This statement was released by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova.  

Meanwhile, the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov has stated that “Gershkovich was caught red-handed, so we are not talking about suspicions.” 

He also said that “the Kremlin monitors foreign media and is familiar with the publications of the detained American”, adding “The Wall Street Journal correspondents who carry out normal journalistic activities can continue to work in Russia”.  

The FSB has stated that Gershkovich’s  “collected data constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex”.  

It added, “The Investigation Department of the FSB of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case under Art. 276 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Espionage)”.  

The petition for his arrest was then sent to the Lefortovo Court of Moscow.  


ORIGINAL March 30 (1.25 pm) – Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been detained in Russia while on assignment  

A Wall Street Journal journalist has been detained in Russia on charges of espionage. 

According to Moscow Times, Gershkovich, who is a U.S. citizen was detained by Russia´s State Security Service (FSB) on Thursday, March 30, as per a government statement.  

 Gershkovich was reportedly “involved in the collection of “secret information” about a Russian defense company”, as per a statement by FSB.  

This would be the first time in modern Russian history that alligations of spying have been imposed on a foreign journalist. 

As per local media in Russia, this arrest could “send a fresh chill through Russia’s media space and could lead to other foreign media outlets pulling journalists out of the country”.  

A statement by Andrei Soldatov, an investigative journalist and expert on FSB, “It is a frontal attack on all foreign correspondents who still work in Russia. And it means that the FSB is off the leash”.  

The 31-year-old journalist was on assignment in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg, at the time of being detained.

He will now be transported to Moscow, and will be formally arrested by a court.  

A statement by the Wall Street Journal said that they “deeply concerned for the safety of Mr. Gershkovich”.  

Local media reports also state that Gershkovich has been alleged by the FSB of “working for the U.S. government” and his detention happened while “trying to obtain secret information”.


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Written by

Imran Khan

A journalist, content professional, and former TEDx Speaker based in Tarragona (Spain), with a Master's in International Journalism (Cardiff, UK). Imran is an online reporter for The Euro Weekly News and covers international as well as Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com