2014 Graduate of Bowdoin College Arrested in Russia for Espionage
A U.S. reporter with the Wall Street Journal, arrested in Russia under suspicion of espionage, has a connection to Maine.
Who Is the Reporter and Why Was He in Moscow?
His name is Evan Gershkovich and he graduated from Bowdoin College in 2014 with a degree in philosophy. According to the AP, he speaks fluent Russian and had worked for the French Press and the New York Times, before becoming a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, assigned to the Moscow Bureau. His last report in the paper appeared last week and focused on how Western sanctions have adversely affected the Russian economy.
Why Was He Arrested?
Gershkovich was detained in Yekaterinburg on espionage charges by the Federal Security Service, which is known as the FSB and is the successor to the KGB. Russian officials claim that he was allegedly trying to obtain information about a Russian military-industrial complex, which is considered classified. The Wall Street Journal is vehemently denying the accusations and has demanded his release immediately.
What Will Happen to Him If He's Convicted?
This is the first time that an American correspondent has been detained and accused of spying since the Cold War. The last time this happened was in 1986, when a U.S. News and World Report correspondent, Nicholas Daniloff, was detained by the KGB. Daniloff was released 20 days later in exchange for a United Nations employee from Moscow being held in the U.S. If convicted, Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in prison. The Associated Press reports there was no immediate comment from Washington, but they are aware of the issue. Tensions between the two countries have been mounting since the onset of the war in Ukraine.