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Russia declares editor of 'foreign agent' media outlet a wanted man, he says

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By Reuters
Russia declares editor of 'foreign agent' media outlet a wanted man, he says
Russia declares editor of 'foreign agent' media outlet a wanted man, he says   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

MOSCOW – Russia has declared Roman Dobrokhotov, the editor of a news outlet that angered the Kremlin, a wanted man and accuses him of illegally crossing the border to leave Russia, he told Reuters on Thursday.

Dobrokhotov is the editor-in-chief of the “The Insider”, which was designated a “foreign agent” earlier this year after it investigated the poisoning of opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Media outlets and journalists critical of the authorities faced mounting pressure this year ahead of a parliamentary election held earlier this month and the campaign against people the authorities deem as threats to political stability shows no signs of letting up.

Dobrokhotov told Reuters he was currently outside Russia and did not want to disclose his location. He called the allegation that he had illegally crossed the border absurd and said he had every right to travel outside Russia.

“This is obviously a tool to put pressure on me in the first place and secondly an attempt to find out where I am and what kind of investigations I am currently engaged in,” he said.

Yulia Kuznetsova, his lawyer, told Reuters he had been declared a wanted man on Sept. 23.

There was no immediate confirmation of Dobrokhotov’s status from the authorities.

The outlet angered authorities by helping identify state security officials it said were behind the poisoning of Navalny in August last year. The Kremlin denies any responsibility for Navalny falling ill.

The Insider was one of several media outlets this year that Russia has declared “foreign agent” media, a designation that carries negative Soviet-era connotations, affects advertising revenue and imposes labelling requirements on the outlets.

The Kremlin denies media outlets are targeted for political reasons, says action against them is solely based on the law, and says those media which are labelled as foreign agents can continue their work in Russia.