WSJ marks grim 1-year anniversary of reporter’s wrongful detention in Russia

The Wall Street Journal marked the grim one-year anniversary of reporter Evan Gershkovich’s detention in Russia by leaving a large blank space on “the front page of a special section wrapping” Friday’s paper. “HIS STORY SHOULD BE HERE,” text blared above the gaping visual void.

The Journal’s Eliot Brown, who calls Gershkovich a friend, noted that Russian authorities detained Gershkovich on March 29, 2023. The 32-year-old imprisoned journalist remains in his cell for 23 hours per day, Brown wrote, adding, “He meets with his Russian lawyers weekly, and periodically goes to court where a judge extends his pretrial detention.”

“It’s a very small, very isolated place with a small window and very little time outside,” Gershkovich’s father, Mikhail Gershkovich, said of his son’s cell, the New York Times reported. “We know it takes a lot of courage and effort and strength to stay put together, to exercise, to meditate, to read books, to write letters, to encourage us to stay strong and hope for the best.”

The father and son play chess through the mail.

“Every day is very hard — every day we feel that he is not here,” Gershkovich’s mother Ella Milman said, according to the Times.

President Joe Biden marked the “painful anniversary” in a statement on Friday. “To Evan, to Paul Whelan, and to all Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad: We are with you. And we will never stop working to bring you home,” Biden said in the statement.

Wall Street Journal editor in chief Emma Tucker has noted that “Evan stands accused of espionage, which Evan, the U.S. government and we vehemently deny.”

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