Russian policeman on Red Square in Moscow – illustration photo
Moscow – Russian authorities have placed Russian journalist and anti-war activist Alexandra Garmažapova on the most wanted list , Russian media reported today, citing the database of the Ministry of the Interior. According to the AP agency, Garmažapova now lives in Prague. If she returned to her homeland, she would face immediate imprisonment.
Sama Garmažapova herself stated on Facebook that she had known for several days that she was being searched for, so there was no need to inform her about it. She thinks she must have stepped on someone's sore spot. In the information about herself on the social network, she states that she lives in Prague.
Garmažapova is the founder of the Svobodné Buryatsko foundation. A disproportionate number of soldiers assigned to the Russian invasion forces in Ukraine come from this region between Baikal and Mongolia. Garmazhapova's foundation helped soldiers end their contracts with the army and return home.
The foundation's website was blocked by Russian authorities last summer shortly after it announced that 150 Buryat soldiers had returned from Ukraine, refusing to fight and canceling their contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense.
In the fall, authorities added Garmažapova to the list of “foreign agents,” a derogatory term for people and organizations the government believes are involved in foreign-sponsored or foreign-influenced political activity.
In the database of the Ministry of the Interior, it is now only stated that the journalist is wanted for criminal prosecution, but without further specifying what she is being prosecuted for. Judicial authorities, according to the state-run TASS agency, said she could be prosecuted under a section on spreading false news about the actions of the Russian armed forces.
This crime appeared in Russian law shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and allows authorities to close up to for 15 years behind bars for anyone who provides information about the actions of Russian troops that contradicts the official Russian version of events. In Russia itself, two opposition politicians have already been imprisoned under this provision.
The journalist comes from Buryatsk, but moved to St. Petersburg, where she worked for the Fontanka website. She also wrote for the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta and collaborated with the Echo of Moscow radio station.