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Who is Christo Grozev? Russia puts foreign investigative journalist on its ‘wanted’ list

Who is Christo Grozev? Russia puts foreign investigative journalist on its ‘wanted’ list

Russia has put the investigative journalist Christo Grozev on its “wanted” list, according to the Russian Interior Ministry.

Grozev is the lead Russia investigator at the journalism organization Bellingcat.

Information published on the ministry’s website said he was “wanted under an article of the Criminal Code,” without specifying the exact article.

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

Who is Christo Grozev? Russia puts foreign investigative journalist on its ‘wanted’ list
Bellingcat investigative journalist Christo Grozev pictured during a press conference opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, on October 9, 2018.

In early March, the Russian government passed legislation criminalizing the dissemination of “deliberately false” information about the Russian armed forces, just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. According to the law, the maximum penalty is 15 years in prison.

Grozev has written extensively about Russia’s role in several high-profile international crimes, including the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the United Kingdom in 2018. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in either attack.

Grozev investigated Navalny’s poisoning in 2020 alongside the team of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny and journalists from CNN and other outlets.

He focuses on “security threats, extraterritorial clandestine operations, and the weaponization of information,” according to Bellingcat’s website.

Grozev has been using open-source digital tools to document war crimes and other atrocities committed during the conflict since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Grozev stated on Monday that he has no idea why he has been added to Russia’s wanted list.

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

Putin’s regime has been gradually dismantling the free press for years, but in late February, the crackdown on independent publications and journalists became more severe.

All remaining independent Russian media outlets have been closed, and access to those operating from abroad has been restricted online. Western publications and social media platforms have also been prohibited.

According to OVD-Info, at least 370 people have been charged with making anti-war statements or giving anti-war speeches. According to the monitor, dozens of them have fled Russia and are on the wanted list.

source:summarybio.com