Evan Gershkovich is a 31-32-year-old American journalist and reporter at The Wall Street Journal.
He was arrested by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) on charges of espionage in March 2023.
This is the first time an American journalist has been arrested on such charges in Russia since the Cold War. The arrest is believed to be a preliminary move for a prisoner exchange.
Evan Gershkovich parents
Gershkovich’s parents, Ella and Mikhail Gershkovich, fled the Soviet Union separately during a period of mass emigration in the wake of rumors that Jews were about to be exiled to Siberia.
They ended up in the United States in 1979 and eventually settled in Princeton, New Jersey.
Gershkovich and his sister grew up speaking Russian at home. However, Gershkovich’s level of Russian was only “quite basic” before his Moscow posting.
He graduated from Bowdoin College in 2014.
Gershkovich worked for The New York Times, The Moscow Times, and Agence France Presse before moving to The Wall Street Journal in January 2022.
He had lived in Russia for six years before his arrest, at which time he was based in Moscow, covering the war in Ukraine.
On March 29, 2023, Gershkovich entered a restaurant in Yekaterinburg, and his phone was turned off two hours later.
Lawyers for The Wall Street Journal were unable to locate him. He was detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service on charges of espionage.
A court, operating in closed session, ordered him held until the end of May while investigations were ongoing.
According to Kommersant, he was scheduled to be transferred to Lefortovo prison while awaiting trial. If convicted, he could face a sentence of 20 years.