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Two Russian Journalists Arrested on ‘Extremism’ Charges, Accused of Working for Navalny Group

Extremism

Russian authorities have detained two journalists on charges of “extremism,” alleging they were working for an organization founded by the late Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Konstantin Gabov and Sergey Karelin face accusations of producing content for Navalny’s prominent YouTube channel, “NavalnyLIVE,” which has garnered millions of views by investigating corruption in the Kremlin.

Here are some details from the report of CNN International.

Connection to ‘Extremist’ Organization

Russian authorities have designated Navalny and his organizations as “extremist.” Navalny, who died in a prison in the Arctic earlier this year, was serving over 30 years in a penal colony on charges of extremism. Members of his team have faced imprisonment, and many have gone into exile. Gabov and Karelin’s arrests are part of the wider crackdown on journalists and critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Authorities detained Gabov on Saturday and will keep him in custody until June 27. According to Moscow’s Basmanny District Court, Gabov was involved in the “preparation of photo and video materials” for Navalny’s YouTube channel. Reuters news agency identifies him as a producer. This agency continues to operate in Russia despite the war in Ukraine.

Authorities arrested Karelin in Russia’s Murmansk region on the same day, accusing him of “participation in an extremist organization.” He previously worked for the Associated Press (AP) and the German publication Deutsche Welle (DW), which was banned in Russia in 2022. An AP photo showed Karelin sitting in a glass cage in a Murmansk court after his arrest.

Heightened Crackdown on Dissent

The detention of Gabov and Karelin underscores Russia’s intensified crackdown on dissent and independent journalism since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. President Vladimir Putin has tightened control over the media and arrested those critical of the Russian government’s actions.

Authorities placed Forbes journalist Sergey Mingazov under house arrest on Saturday. State media RIA Novosti accuses him of allegedly spreading fake news about the Russian army.

Before his death, many considered Navalny as Putin’s most significant political opponent, and many accused the Russian government of playing a role in his demise. Moreover, the Kremlin has denied any connection to his death. However, his imprisonment and subsequent passing have fueled controversy and sparked international condemnation.

The ongoing persecution of journalists and activists in Russia is alarming. It raises serious concerns about the future of press freedom and the safety of those who speak out against the government.

Read Also: Four Arrested on Murder Charges in Connection with Disappearance of Two Women in Oklahoma

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