Russian dailies publish same front page over reporter's arrest

Cheryl Sanders
June 11, 2019

Golunov had been held under house arrest since Saturday, and he had been ordered to serve an additional two months.

Ivan Golunov, a 36-year-old journalist known for exposing corruption among Moscow city officials, was detained by police on Thursday and accused of serious drug offences which he denies.

In identical front page statements, the three newspapers said the journalist's arrest amounted to an act of intimidation, and demanded an investigation into the police officers who detained him.

Galina Timchenko, general director of online news portal Meduza where Golunov works, told the Interfax news agency: "I am happy, I'm crying".

"This concrete case has triggered a great number of questions". Following an announcement from Russia's Internal Affairs Minister that Ivan Golunov will be freed, however, even state-owned television programs are airing segments with the news at the top of the hour. The images were swiftly deleted from the interior ministry's website after a police spokesman admitted they had been taken at a different location and bore no relation to the charges against the journalist.

"Yipee! The criminal case against Golunov has been dropped".

The journalist's supporters also pointed out inconsistencies in the investigation and raised concerns over how Golunov was treated by the officers during pre-trial detention. For now, they have been suspended from duty.

A planned central Moscow protest - which did not receive permission from state officials - will still go ahead tomorrow, Vaessen said, with organisers promising "not to rest" until those who organised Golunov's detention are brought to justice.

Concerning disciplinary action, Kolokoltsev announced, "I have made a decision to request the Russian president dismiss the police chief for western Moscow, Major-General Andrei Puchkov, and the head of the Moscow police department for narcotics control, Major-General Yury Devyatkin".

The unexpected move came after an unprecedented display of support from Russian journalists and cultural figures. And it announced that its plans for a pro- Golunov rally, which had run into official delays, has now received the official go-ahead.

According to the Moscow police, five parcels with powder-like substance were found on the journalist in the centre of Moscow on Thursday and more narcotics were seized in his apartment.

His case set off alarm bells in Moscow's journalism circles, Bershidsky writes, including the fear that "anyone could be next in line".

Other reports by iNewsToday