Wall Street Journalist Evan Gershkovich is in a Russian prison and shouldn’t be. Gershkovich grew up in New Jersey, speaking Russian at home with his parents and sister.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Gershkovich was in the Ural Mountains of Russia in the city of Yekaterinburg on a reporting trip when he was arrested by Russian authorities.
Appearing on a Sunday news program, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that Gershkovich’s arrest by Russian authorities was invalid. Due to the nature of the arrest, the matter will be assigned to the State Department’s Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.
When asked for a response to the Russians for the arrest of Gershkovich, President Joe Biden responded, “Let him go.”
Secretary Blinken demanded the “immediate release” of the Wall Street journalist along with Marine veteran Paul Whelan arrested in 2018 and serving a 16-year prison sentence. The similarities in the arrests of the two men were not lost on Whelan’s brother.
Whelan was passed over for release and, instead, a prisoner exchange of female basketball superstar Britney Griner for a Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, imprisoned in the US, completing 10 of his 25-year sentence. Although the agreement was a one-on-one swap, another American, Sarah Krivanek, was deported after being charged with domestic violence in Russia.
Russia is accusing the United States of using Gershkovich’s arrest as political posturing. Many think this is a trumped-up charge to embarrass President Biden for his help to Ukraine.
No evidence of any wrongdoing, crimes, or allegations against Gershkovich has been made as yet by the Russian Government. Their accusation is that he was apprehended collecting data and trying to obtain secret information using his journalist credentials as a cover.
The Wall Street Journal has emphatically denied that Gershkovich was working for the United States.
Gershkovich made his first court appearance last week and could face a 20-year prison sentence if convicted in a Russian court.