Russia: Persecution of Journalists Continues

Filming near the residence of Russian president Vladimir Putin may be paid with freedom, which happened to three journalists who were detained on Monday in Moscow, Russian media reported.

Vladimir Putin 2017-01-17Russian President Putin oversees security services that often persecute journalists (Photo: Kremlin.ru ((CC BY 3.0))The Federal Guard Service (FSO), in charge of safeguarding Russia’s top officials, detained Anastasia Kulagina, Maria Pogrebnyak and Andrei Zolotov of the MBH Media, in the Rublyovo-Uspenskoye region of Moscow, near the President’s residence. 

MBH Media said its three-member crew was trying to film a piece on the relocation of nine families from a two-storey decrepit wooden building in Putin’s neighborhood. Authorities promised years ago to the residents they would repair their flats but never did, which was the story MBH Media was working on. 

While filming they allegedly stepped into the protected area near Putin’s Novo-Ogaryovo residence, where he lives since early 2000.

The FSO, according to report, immediately detained the three, seized their documents and took them to Barvikhinsky Police Department for questioning.

This was not the first arrest in the Moscow area known as the region of “palace owners.” Nearly a year ago FSO detained there Vyacheslav Gimadi and Alexander Golovach, lawyers of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) while they were doing their “usual work” of checking the owners of elite palaces and comparing that with the public register.

The two were reportedly also taken to Barvikhinsky Police Department.

Russian authorities blame the media for the frequent detention of journalists. 

In the latest case Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) accused Mikhail Romanov, journalist of the Yakutsk Evening weekly of the “abuse of freedom of information,” the Yakutsk Evening said on Tuesday.

The court will consider a freedom of information abuse case, in what seems to be the first such case before the court of the world’s coldest city at the East of Siberia, the weekly reported. 

In April this year Yakutsk Evening News published Romanov’s story on a researcher of the North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) who was allegedly kidnapped and beaten by FSB members because of his comments on social networks about some explosion in Arkhangelsk in October last year.

Pressing unprecedented charges against Romanov, district police in Yakutsk also said fragments of his article could “affect people’s subconsciousness.”

Russian president Putin oversees the work of both - FSO and FSB, according to government’s web pages.