(PresidentialWire.com)- On Tuesday, Russia arrested Evan Gershkovich, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, charging him with espionage.
In the days since, it’s becoming clearer, though, that it’s very possible that the reason the Kremlin detained him was that they weren’t happy with recent reporting he did that outlined facts about how the national economy in Russia is flailing.
In an official announcement, the Federal Security Service in Russia said they detained Gerhkovich because he was “collecting information about one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex” while at the same time acting on instructions he received from America.
The WSJ denied that allegation against their reporter, demanding that he be released immediately.
The United State’s relationship with Russia has been extremely tense in recent years, and it has gotten even worse over the last year since Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine. This arrest of a U.S. journalist by Russia, though, is another major escalation. It’s the first time such an incident has occurred since during the Cold War.
The reporter was detained not long after an article he co-wrote with Georgi Katnchev, titled “Russia’s Economy Is Starting to Come Undone,” was published. In the article, the authors wrote about the isolation and economic struggles Russia has been experiencing since it invaded Ukraine, exploring what potential impacts they will have on a long-term basis.
As the article reads:
“As the war continues into its second year and Western sanctions bite harder, Russia’s government revenue is being squeezed, and its economy has shifted to a lower-growth trajectory, likely for the long term. The country’s biggest exports, gas, and oil, have lost major customers. Government finances are strained. The ruble is down over 20 percent since November against the dollar. The labor force has shrunk as young people are sent to the front or flee the country over fears of being drafted. Uncertainty has curbed business investment.”
This has all forced Russia to lean more heavily on China, boosting its economic relationship with the Communist country just to stay afloat as many international markets have completely cut them off. The biggest hit the country has taken is to its energy industry, which used to be one of the biggest sectors in Russia’s economy.
The massive hit in revenue the industry has taken has raised questions about how Russia will be able to stay afloat for a long period of time on its own.
Almar Latour, who serves as the CEO of Dow Jones – the publishers of the Journal – condemned the arrest of Gershkovich in a memo sent to all staffers this week. That memo said Dow Jones is working “around the clock” to secure the release of their employee.
“This is an incredibly disturbing development.”
Speaking with reporters on Thursday, John Kirby, who serves as the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, wouldn’t say whether the reporter’s detention could be seen as a retaliatory move by Russia. He only said that the U.S. was working on gathering more information about the incident.