Hristo Grozev: Russia has announced a wanted foreign investigative journalist


Russia posed the investigative journalist Hristo Grozev on its wanted list, according to the Russian Interior Ministry.

Grozev, who is Bulgarian, is the lead Russian investigator at the Bellingcat journalism group.

Information posted on the ministry’s website said he was “wanted under an article of the Penal Code,” without specifying which article.

According to the independent human rights watchdog OVD-Info, a criminal case has been opened against Grozev for spreading “fake news” about the Russian army.

The Russian government passed a law criminalizing the spread of what it called “deliberately false” information about the Russian armed forces in early March, just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The maximum penalty under the law is 15 years in prison.

Grozev has reported extensively on Russia’s involvement in a number of high-profile international crimes, including The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 in eastern Ukraine and the 2018 poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the United Kingdom. Moscow has repeatedly denied any responsibility for the two attacks.

Together with the team of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and journalists from CNN and other media, Grozev is also investigating the poisoning of Navalny in 2020.

It focuses on “security threats, extraterritorial covert operations and information weapons,” according to Bellingcat’s website.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February, Grozev has used open-source digital tools to document war crimes and other atrocities committed during the conflict.

Grozev said Monday that he did not know why he was added to Russia’s wanted list.

“I have no idea on what grounds the Kremlin has placed me on its ‘wanted list’, so I cannot make any comments at this time.” In a way it doesn’t matter – they’ve made it clear for years that they fear our work and will stop at nothing to make it go away,” he said in a post on Twitter on Monday.

of Putin the regime has been methodically dismantling the free press for years, but the crackdown on independent outlets and journalists intensified in late February.

All other independent Russian media are closed, and online access to those working from abroad is blocked. Western publications and social media sites are also banned.

According to OVD-Info, at least 370 people have faced criminal liability for anti-war statements and speeches. Dozens of them have fled Russia and are wanted, the monitor said.

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