U.S. Reporter Evan Gershkovich To Face Trial In Russia On Espionage Charges

A U.S. journalist arrested by Russia last year under espionage charges will face trial, according to Russian prosecutors.

Evan Gershkovich, a 32-year-old reporter for The Wall Street Journal, was arrested and hit with the charges during a reporting trip to the city of Yekaterinburg in March 2023. It’s the first time an American journalist has been accused of espionage in Russia since the Cold War.

Both the Journal and the U.S. State Department have routinely denied the accusation that Gershkovich was secretly spying for the CIA; Russia has so far presented no evidence to back up their claims.

Nevertheless, on Thursday, the Russian prosecutor general’s office said it had approved the indictment against Gershkovich, claiming that Russia’s Federal Security Service had “established and documented” evidence that the American journalist had “collected secret information” about a Russian tank factory.

In February, a Russian court denied Gershkovich’s appeal.

“It has been extraordinarily difficult to watch these proceedings play out, each one an indefensible attempt to portray Evan as something other than what he is — a journalist,” Dow Jones CEO Almar Latour and WSJ Editor-in-Chief Emma Tucker said in a statement following Gershkovich’s denied appeal.

In March, the Journal marked one year since Gershkovich’s detention by publishing a blank front page.

“His story should be here,” a headline read across the front page, along with a subhead that said, “A year in Russian prison. A year of stolen stories, stolen joys, stolen memories. The crime: journalism.”

Russia denied a second appeal in April.

Prosecutors did not say when Gershkovich’s trial will begin. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in a Russian prison.