Russian journalist Ivan Golunov persecuted for professional activities

The special correspondent of Medusa, Ivan Golunov, is accused of “attempted large scale drug sale.” He faces from 10 to 20 years in prison. Colleagues and human rights activists believe the case to be a revenge for the investigations of Golunov and claim that the drugs were planted on him by the siloviki. has collected the most important facts about the persecution of the journalist.

Golunov was detained on the afternoon of June 6 in the center of Moscow when he was on his way to meet with a colleague. Police said they found cocaine in his belongings and in his apartment. Later, the Ministry of Internal Affairs admitted: the photograph of the “drug lab” allegedly discovered during the search and posted by the department was in fact not taken in Golunov’s apartment. At the police station, the journalist was not allowed to contact a lawyer for more than 16 hours.

Later, through a lawyer, Dmitry Dzhulay, he reported that he was beaten by the police. According to Golunov, they refused to call an ambulance to record the beatings, nor did they conduct a biological examination that would confirm the absence of his contact with drugs. Later, the police made the handwipe.

On June 7, pickets of solidarity with the detainee were held throughout Russia. In Moscow, people queued up to hold a poster in support of the journalist. The most popular inscription on the poster is “I am Ivan Golunov. Detain me too”. A dozen of Golunov’s colleagues found themselves in the police station for participating in this picket. Among the picketers were famous people: publicist Viktor Shenderovich, journalists of Novaya Gazeta Pavel Kanygin and Ilya Azar, Victoria Ivleva and others. In the evening they were released by the police without a protocol. Pickets of solidarity were also held in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk and a number of other Russian cities.

The management of “Medusa” published a statement in support of their journalist. General Director Galina Timchenko and editor-in-chief Ivan Kolpakov are convinced of Golunov’s innocence and link the persecution with his professional activities.

“We know that in recent months, Vanya received threats; we know, in connection with which upcoming text it was; we can guess from whom the threats came. Medusa will study every action taken by investigators in the Golunov’s case. We will find out by whose will Vanya is being pursued — and we will make this information public. We will protect our journalist by all available means,” they wrote.

On the morning of June 8, it became known that Golunov was officially charged. According to Part 1 of Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation he faces from 10 to 20 years in prison. It was planned that on June 8, the Nikolsky Court of Moscow would choose a measure of restraint for him. The lawyer said that the investigation would ask the court for an additional 72 hours of arrest.

But during the investigative actions Golunov became ill, he was hospitalized. The doctors who examined the detainee diagnosed him with a concussion, as well as a suspicion of broken ribs. For some time, the police refused to call an ambulance for the journalist, but in the end he was sent to the hospital for an examination.

The 36-year-old Ivan Golunov is known for his investigations of corruption in the higher echelons of power. He worked for Vedomosti, Forbes, RBC, Slon and on the Dozhd TV channel. He now works as a special correspondent for the online publication Medusa.

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