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Kremlin-linked oligarch Evgeny Prigozhin seeks criminal case against Meduza journalists
Oligarch Evgeny Prigozhin has asked Russia’s top investigative body to launch a criminal case against Meduza editorial director Tatiana Ershova and special correspondent Liliya Yapparova.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the press office for Prigozhin’s company Concord said that the oligarch had asked Investigative Committee Chief Alexander Bastrykin to initiate a felony investigation against Ershova and Yapparova on charges of spreading “false information” about the Russian army and treason.
Prigozhin filed the complaint after Meduza sent him a request for comment on the involvement of the Wagner private military company in Russia’s war against Ukraine. The inquiry was signed by Ershova and included Yapparova’s contact information.
On Wednesday, Meduza published an investigation by Liliya Yapparova about the involvement of Russian mercenaries in the war against Ukraine (you can read it in English here). Yapparova found that fighters from the Wagner Group, a private military company linked to Evgeny Prigozhin, were deployed to Ukraine at the end of March, as a result of a recruitment effort organized by the Russian Defense Ministry. The article also cited sources close to the Kremlin, who said that the Wagner Group’s perceived successes at the front have helped Prigozhin ingratiate himself with Vladimir Putin.
Evgeny Prigozhin filed a defamation lawsuit against Meduza and editor-in-chief Ivan Kolpakov in 2020. The oligarch initiated the claim over a hyperlink to a Meduza article about Prigozhin that was contained in an interview published by the outlet Dovod.
In February 2021, Moscow’s Savelovsky District Court dismissed Prigozhin’s claim. In May 2021, however, the Moscow City Court ordered Meduza to retract the article about Prigozhin and pay him roughly $1,000 as compensation for damages.
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