Russian journalist acknowledges emigration, denounces new felony charges as effort to silence his investigative reporting
Roman Dobrokhotov, the editor-in-chief of The Insider, has responded to new criminal charges that he allegedly crossed the Russian border illegally. The criminal case “was conjured out of thin air,” he argued in an editorial published by The Insider, asserting that he was within his rights when he left the country in August, weeks after federal agents raided his home and interrogated his parents. Russian officials seized his international passport at the time, but Dobrokhotov says he maintains his general civil passport.
I remained in Russia until the end. Since 2018, everyone was telling me that living in Moscow after all these investigative reports [published by The Insider] was madness if not suicide. I ignored these warnings. It was only when Federal Security Service agents smashed in my apartment door and seized my computers and telephones that I realized that I’d no longer be allowed to do my work from this country. The ones breaking the law are the [Russian authorities] who confiscated my foreign travel passport and are now trying to pin this felony on me, saying I didn’t use the right passport when leaving [the country]. They’re the ones who should be sent to jail for illegally restricting [my] freedom of movement. [...]
My departure and this criminal investigation will not affect The Insider’s work whatsoever. In fact, the newsroom will be more active than ever. We’re planning to hire new people and release new investigative reports that have even bigger and more powerful reverberations than what we’ve already published.
Dobrokhotov says he is sure that the purpose of the new charges against him is to exert pressure on his relatives and gain access to their telephones and computers, in order to read their correspondence and find out where Dobrokhotov is located now. Dobrokhotov has declined to reveal his current whereabouts, explaining that he’s “always on the move.”
On September 30, 2021, after officials in Moscow raided the homes of Roman Dobrokhotov’s parents and wife, Russia’s Federal Security Service accused the journalist of illegally crossing the Russian border into Ukraine, aided by “other persons.”