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Política Internacional / 29/07/2021


Police arrest journalist who investigated Alexei Navalny's poisoning

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Police arrest journalist who investigated Alexei Navalny's poisoning

Roman Dobrokhotov's home, went through a search, with equipment withheld due to an alleged case of libel

Journalist Roman Dobrokhotov, editor-in-chief of the investigative website The Insider, was detained on Tuesday (27), and police carried out a search of his apartment in Moscow. The court alleges that the action is related to a case of libel.

The journalist's lawyer says he is not a suspect in the case, but a witness. The accused would be a Dutch journalist. Still, police confiscated laptops, phones, tablets and the passport of Dobrokhotov, who, according to a colleague, planned to leave Russia on Wednesday.

Last Friday (23), after the publication of reports unfavorable to President Vladimir Putin, Russia declared The Insider and five journalists the vehicle as “foreign agents”. The move would be an apparent act of revenge against the independent media for helping to reveal the Kremlin's role in the Salisbury poisonings and assassination attempts by security agencies.

Insider worked in partnership with Dutch investigative website Bellingcat and was one of several new vehicles to publish embarrassing exhibits for the Russian government. Among them, an investigation into what Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption activist considered Putin's biggest critic, says was an attempted murder by poisoning.

The same method was used by two intelligence agents accused of killing former spy Sergei Skripal in 2018 in Salisbury, England, a fact that was also learned by independent journalists.

The designation of “foreign agent” carries negative Soviet-era connotations and serves to label what would be organizations involved in foreign-funded political activities. Russia denies that a crackdown is underway, although websites that denounce Putin's mistakes and scandals linked to the government have already been listed as “undesirable organizations” and even banned.

“As a result of the Ministry of Justice's listing of The Insider, we are pleased to report that our editorial team will continue to operate as usual and maintain our editorial policy. We will continue to provide our readers with complete and uncensored public information,” says a statement posted on the website.


Insider is the 29th media organization on the list. One of them, VTimes, closed last month, saying it lost advertisers and other business partners after the designation. Others, like Meduza, avoided closure through crowdfunding efforts.

The designation of “foreign agent” requires vehicles to label all their content and ends up alienating potential partners and advertisers. Organizations that do not comply with the law can be forced to close.

As part of the government's action aimed at financially suffocating the journalistic medium, eventual donors, through any crowdfunding effort (collective financing), are also liable to punishment.

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