Friday Briefing

Evan Gershkovich, whose detention has been extended for a fifth time.Credit…Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press

A year in a Russian prison for a U.S. reporter

One year ago today, the Russian authorities detained Evan Gershkovich, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, and accused him of spying for the U.S. government. He is the first American reporter since the end of the Cold War to be held on espionage charges in Russia.

The Journal and the U.S. government have vehemently denied that Gershkovich is a spy, saying he was an accredited journalist doing his job. But he is still incarcerated today, held in the same notorious prison as the people arrested in connection with last week’s terror attack in Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia said in a recent interview with Tucker Carlson that he wanted to trade Gershkovich for Vadim Krasikov, a Russian citizen imprisoned in Germany for an assassination in a Berlin park.

Putin is practicing “transactional diplomacy,” but countries worry that such exchanges could potentially encourage more incarcerations, said my colleague Valerie Hopkins, who covers Russia.

“The White House has raised Evan’s case, President Biden talked about it in the State of the Union,” Hopkins said, adding, “But it’s incredibly difficult to make any kind of agreement at this time with Putin.”

Earlier this week, Gershkovich’s detention was extended for a further three months. A trial date has not been set.

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