Russian investigator Aleksandr I. Bastrykin apologizes for allegedly threatening to kill Sergei Sokolov, deputy editor of Novaya Gazeta. His apology included sending Sokolov a wristwatch. Three reporters from Novaya Gazeta have been killed in the past decade. Meanwhile, Sokolov had fled into exile. We will be posting Russian PEN’s response to the apology soon.
Russian protestors clash with riot police in Moscow
News this week that Russian authorities had arrested more protestors and that teams of investigators raided the homes of blogger Aleksei Navalny, television star Kseniya Sobchak, and other prominent opposition voices is further proof of an intensifying struggle over freedom of expression in Russia.
Navigating this treacherous terrain is the Russian PEN Center, chartered in 1988 and an important defender of the freedom to write in the post-Soviet era. Among Russian PEN’s most important campaigns were efforts to challenge the jailing of Grigory Pasko and Aleksander Nikitin. The center paid a stiff a price for its activism when then-President Putin sought to impose exorbitant land taxeson the organization’s central Moscow offices. For more than five years, the center was tied down in court with its assets frozen by the state.