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Police raid home of Russian investigative journalist

July 28, 2021

The raid on the home of The Insider's chief editor comes after the investigative news outlet was designated a "foreign agent."

Roman Dobrokhotov from "The Insider"
Journalist Roman Dobrokhotov said Russian police came to search his homeImage: Sergej Dik/DW

Roman Dobrokhotov, the editor-in-chief of investigative newspaper The Insider, on Wednesday said police raided his apartment.

The Insider is an online news outlet that has published stories about the lives of Russia's secretive elite.

It has also worked with the investigative journalism website Bellingcat on projects including an investigation into the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Bellingcat's investigations into Moscow's intelligence services have been condemned by Russian state officials as Western propaganda.

OVD-Info, a legal aid group that monitors political arrests, said Dobrokhotov's wife called the group's hotline and reported a police raid before her phone became unavailable.

Sergei Yezhov, a journalist with The Insider, said that Dobrokhotov was due to leave Russia on Wednesday. The website said police had also raided the home of Dobrokhotov's parents.

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Moscow cracks down on media

The Insider was recently designated a "foreign agent" by the Russian government, a move seen as an attempt to raise pressure on independent media ahead of the country's September parliamentary election.

Entities classed as "foreign agents" are subject to heightened government scrutiny.

Allies say the raid on Dobrokhotov is part of a crackdown against media that are critical of the authorities.

Russian opposition supporters, independent journalists and human rights activists have faced increased government pressure.

Alisa Ganieva: 'Free speech is being violated in Russia'

In recent months, the government has designated several independent media outlets and journalists as "foreign agents." These include outlets such as VTimes and Meduza.

VTimes subsequently shut down, citing the loss of advertisers, and Meduza launched a crowd-funding campaign after encountering the same problem.

The upcoming September elections are seen as important for President Vladimir Putin to cement his rule before presidential polls in 2024.

The Russian leader pushed through constitutional changes last year that would potentially allow him to hold onto power until 2036.

on/nm (Reuters, AP)