Russia Extends Detention of U.S. Journalist

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 | Tag Cloud

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

MOSCOW (Worthy News) – A Russian court has extended until August 30 the detention of Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich on spying charges he denies.

Gershkovich, 31, has been held at the Lefortovo jail since being arrested on March 29 during a reporting trip to the central Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

If convicted, Gershkovich would face up to 20 years in a feared Russian penal colony.

The United States government and The Wall Street Journal paper have vehemently rejected the charges, saying that “reporting is not a crime.”

Gershkovich’s parents, Ella Milman and Mikhail Gershkovich waited for more than an hour outside the courtroom before being allowed into the hearing, reporters noticed.

It was their first sighting of their son since his arrest on March 29. They were whisked away in the company of one of Gershkovich’s lawyers.

The parents did not comment on what they had seen. Milman wore a “Free Evan” button. Before going into the hearing, Gershkovich’s father said, “We hope he is doing great and that he can be as strong as his mother.”


The refusal of bail and extending Gershkovich’s detention were widely expected, although Russia has presented no evidence to back the espionage accusation.

A prisoner exchange, such as the one that secured the release of Brittney Griner, an American basketball star, late last year, would not take place until after a verdict is reached in the case, Russian officials said.

Griner was held for almost 10 months on a cannabis possession charge. However, President Joe Biden’s administration reportedly works behind the scenes to secure an early release for Gershkovich.

The U.S., The Wall Street Journal, numerous colleagues, groups supporting press freedom, and prominent international officials have all condemned Gershkovich’s detention saying the accusations made against him are baseless.

The Journal said that though “we expected there would be no change to Evan’s wrongful detention, we are deeply disappointed.”

“The accusations are demonstrably false, and we continue to demand his immediate release,” it added.

A handful of journalists were allowed into the courthouse but not the courtroom itself. Gershkovich was hidden from view on entering and exiting before being driven in a white van with blackened windows back to Lefortovo jail and an uncertain future.


Gershkovich is the first U.S. journalist to be detained by Russia on spying charges since the Cold War was declared over.

Yet with the East-West standoff over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rapidly escalating, his detention is seen as part of efforts by Moscow to increase pressure on Washington to make concessions.

Officially the war in Ukraine is described as “a special military operation,” and President Vladimir Putin has suppressed independent news outlets reporting otherwise.

However, Putin has increasingly used the word “war” to characterize the current broad confrontation with the West — the United States, NATO, and the European Union over the military actions in Ukraine.

In what diplomats view as a worrying sign with worldwide implications, Russia has made clear there is no turning back from that perceived war with the West.

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