European Federation of Journalists

Russia: investigation about Ivan Golunov classified

Credit: Vasily Maximov/AFP

Investigation about Russian journalist Ivan Golunov‘s arrestation was declared ‘classified’ by Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee (SK) on 11 November. The European Federation of Journalists and the Russian Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union (JMWU) denounced this decision considered as an attempt to intimidate all the journalists investigating Russian politics and corruption.

Golunov has been arrested on 6 June and accused of drug-dealing – the drugs were tossed by someone into his backpack and into his apartment. Such a practice is becoming more and more common for the intimidation and imprisonment of disturbing investigative journalists.

After an unprecedented mobilisation campaign by civil society, he was released and all the charges against him were dropped on 11 June 2019. Authorities said they would investigate those who fabricated the charges against Golunov.

Two weeks ago, Ivan Golunov and his lawyer had filed a complaint over the inaction of the investigators. A criminal case case concerning the abuse of power and provocation has been initiated. But despite the fact that all the names were listed in the records of the police, the case was opened against an “indefinite circle of people.” Two police officers were dismissed, but this resignation officially had no link with this case. And these officers are now demanding their reinstatement.

“Those who planted drugs on Ivan Golunov’ things, trying to intimidate or make silent the investigative journalist, are still at free, holding their posts, more and more confident in their impunity, – declares the Russian Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union, – and this for such a shining example of iniquity that has shaken the entire Russian civil society and the whole Russian journalists despite their political beliefs. We are convinced that making an obvious affair secret is nothing but an act of demonstrating the omnipotence of Russian secret services and the intimidation of all Russian journalists.”

Ivan Golunov showed in his investigations how relatives of Moscow’s deputy mayor Pyotr Biryukov earned billions on city contracts, amassing a fortune in real estate and how the funeral business of Moscow is controlled by the mafia with the support of FSB officers.