Dubious Charges of Espionage Keep Evan Gershkovich Detained in Russia

(TheConservativeTimes.org) – Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, is being held in Russia at Lefortovo prison in Moscow on charges of espionage. The dubious charges led Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, to formally designate the reporter as wrongfully detained.

The designation will open up avenues for the government to acquire additional resources in attempts to secure his release from a grim fate in a prison notorious for its executions under former dictator Joseph Stalin. His pre-trial detention will last until at least May 29 according to Russian state news agency, TASS.

Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, who arrested Gershkovich, notes that he had accreditation with the Russian Foreign Ministry as a journalist but spokeswoman of the ministry, Maria Zakharova, accused the journalist of using his credentials to cover for “activities that have nothing to do with journalism.”

During an April 4th White House Press briefing, White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, sought to reassure reporters, “We’re going to continue to call for the release of Evan Gershkovich.” Jean-Pierre adds, “These charges are ridiculous. Evan is not a spy. Evan has never been a spy. Evan has never worked for the U.S. government, and he is an independent journalist employed by the Wall Street Journal, as you all know.”

Gershkovich has the undesirable distinction of being the first American reporter to be arrested and detained in Russia on espionage charges since the Cold War. Russian-state media has since been telling the Russian people that Gershkovich was “caught red-handed”. Paul Whelan, also detained in Russia, is an American citizen who has been accused of similar charges of spying. His detention has been ongoing since 2018.

Rebekah Koffler, is the author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” and former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, has been keeping tabs on Russian-state media since the arrest. “It’s typical Putin’s playbook-hostage diplomacy,” Koffler said. “Russia has perfected it in a form of statecraft. Why do they do it? It’s because we have taught them that it works.”

Experts, such as Rebekah Koffler, suspect that ultimately Gershkovich could be returned to the U.S. in a prisoner swap with Russia.

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