Ivan Golunov case: Russian media mark victory over police

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Ivan Golunov case: Russian media mark victory over police

Deutsche Welle

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Ivan Golunov case: Russian media mark victory over police
Ivan Golunov case: Russian media mark victory over police. Reuters/S. Zhumatov
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There is an unwritten rule in Russia that when someone is arrested, that person will also be tried and sentenced. But on Tuesday, this rule was broken when drug possession charges against 36-year-old investigative reporter Ivan Golunov were dropped. Golunov, who writes for the dissident Meduza online platform, had maintained that Russian police were trying to frame him. Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev has now announced that those responsible for the trial will be fired.

Exceptional display of solidarity

In an exceptional display of solidarity, three leading liberal Russian newspapers — Vedomosti, Kommersant and RBK — ran identical front pages on Monday declaring: “I am/We are Ivan Golunov.” Even pro-Kremlin, state-run media outlets and major television stations demanded Golunov be treated fairly.

Last weekend, pro-Golunov rallies were also held outside Russia’s embassy in Berlin. A spokesperson for the German government on Tuesday told DW that it welcomes Golunov’s release, saying: “The government is carefully monitoring Russian developments and the treatment of journalists, opposition politicians and civil society.” After various smaller pro-Golunov rallies in Russia over the past days, thousands had planned to take to the streets on Wednesday in support of the journalist, even though authorities had not approved the protest.

Illicit practices in funeral industry

Until recently, few Russians were familiar with Ivan Golunov’s name. Yet Meduza, the online platform for which he writes, is widely known and respected throughout the country. It was founded in 2014 by exiled dissident journalists in the Latvian capital, Riga, and grew to become one of the most widely read Russian-language media outlets in the world. The site is particularly popular among the urban middle class.

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