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Russian news agency ‘RBC’ refuses to publish investigative report on a ‘secret torture prison’ allegedly operating outside Moscow

The news agency RBC refused to publish an investigative story by journalist Ilya Rozhdestvensky about a “secret prison” allegedly operated outside Moscow by Russia’s Federal Security Service because the report had not been properly verified, says Elizaveta Golikova, one of the agency’s editorial board managers.

Responding to criticisms that the news agency is censoring its reporting, Golikova stated in a Facebook post that RBC “doesn’t just reprint anyone’s complaints in full,” explaining that all published stories need to stand up to “professional analysis.” Golikova says RBC’s editorial board rejected Rozhdestvensky’s investigative report because it relied too heavily on the “opinions of one side.”

Rozhdestvensky says he offered the RBC newsroom six different versions of his article, but he was told that the story’s “format” was wrong and warned that his text amounts to an “attempt to justify the actions of terrorism suspects.” When RBC said it would only publish his investigation as a news brief, Rozhdestvensky submitted his resignation, effective on August 4.

We will continue to insist on adherence to the formats adopted by RBC, balanced reporting, and the right of managing editors to make decisions about how or when a particular text might be published.

Elizaveta Golikova

Rozhdestvensky later published his story on the news website Republic. According to his report, five men accused of terrorism and murder say Russian federal agents tortured them in a “secret prison” outside Moscow before they were ever formally detained. One suspect says he was electrocuted and waterboarded.

According to the story published on Republic, two unnamed sources with ties to terrorism investigations have confirmed the allegations in Rozhdestvensky’s report.

Last month, Russian energy and tech magnate Grigory Berezkin bought RBC from oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov.