Roman Badanin, editor-in-chief of the Projekt news site, has fled to New York and is trying to avoid possible criminal charges by staying abroad.
In Russia the editor-in-chief of the closed investigative journalism Projekt site has fled the country to avoid possible criminal charges, according to Reuters.
Editor-in-Chief, who fled to New York, USA Roman Badanin no longer intends to return to its home country and has also begun evacuating its workers from Russia abroad.
The Russian Prosecutor’s Office shut down the Projekt news site in mid-July as an “unwanted organization”. According to the authorities, Projekt had endangered the security of the state.
The site has published several investigative stories about Russia’s ruling elite, which have presented it in a negative light. For example, the site has published news of the president Vladimir Putin the alleged St. Petersburg woman and his daughter, who is suspected of being Putin’s third daughter.
Projekt is the first media outlet to be declared an “unwanted organization”. The list already includes various Russian and foreign organizations. Engaging in “unwanted” activity can result in fines or a maximum of six years in prison.
Badanin told Reuters he was in New York only temporarily but would continue to stay abroad. He had been on vacation with his wife and children when Projekt was declared “undesirable” in Russia. Badanin decided not to return to Russia.
The editor-in-chief said he also began evacuating his workers from Russia if they wanted to. In addition to Badan, four Project suppliers were named “foreign agents” in July.
Those declared to be foreign agents are subject to special supervision in Russia and have to provide the authorities with various explanations of their actions. The title has a negative echo in Russia.
Police made last month a raid on Badanin and a journalist Maria Zholobovan homes, and arrested the editor-in-chief of the site Mikhail Rubin for a short time due to suspicion of slander.
According to Badanin, Rubin, also named a foreign agent, is in New York and has no plans to return to Moscow. Badanin said Projekt would continue to operate in some form, but could not yet say how that would happen in practice.
“The main difference is that most employees work from abroad to avoid possible legal action.”
In Russia, many other independent media have also reported increased pressure from the state. So far, others have not yet been declared “unwanted”.
Russian police rode the editor-in-chief of The Insider, an investigative journalism, on Wednesday Roman Dobrohotov home and took him for questioning. Police had confiscated his computer, phones and passport.
The Insider has published stories about the Russian elite and collaborated with the international research team Bellingcat. The Russian Ministry of Justice appointed The Insider as a foreign agent last week.
The Kremlin has denied that the actions against the various media or their journalists were for political reasons. It has justified its actions by complying with the law.