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Novaya Gazeta reporter Andrey Zayakin detained in Moscow on extremism charges

Andrey Zayakin, a Novaya Gazeta reporter who also wrote for Novaya Gazeta. Europe and co-founded Dissernet, was detained in Moscow on 28 August.

Photo: Novaya Gazeta. Europe

His house was searched by police. Zayakin is charged with financing extremist activity. He spent the night at a police station in central Moscow.

Photo: Andrey Zayakin

The reporter is accused of transferring 1,000 rubles (€16) to Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). Other circumstances of the case are unknown so far. A court hearing on Zayakin’s measure of restraint will be held today at a Moscow court. The prosecution requests to place him under de facto house arrest.

The journalist faces up to eight years behind bars on these charges.

Dissernet is a community of Russian and foreign researchers, as well as reporters, civil activists and volunteers, who publicly review PhD theses defended at Russian universities.

In 2020, Dissernet detected irregularities in the theses of 68 Russian judges and retired judges. In 2019, Dissernet found irregularities in the theses of 64 Russian university rectors and in research articles by St. Petersburg Governor Aleksandr Beglov. Dissernet reports of thesis plagiarism led to the resignation of Deputy Health Minister Sergey Kraevoy and the revocation of United Russia lawmaker Yevgeny Moskvichev’s degree.

As a Novaya Gazeta reporter, Zayakin wrote about Russian education, science, remote e-voting, and COVID. He also wrote about maths teacher Natalya Kryukova and translator Aleksandr Tarasov who justified the need to dismantle the Memorial human rights organisation.

The Anti-Corruption Foundation, the Citizens' Rights Protection Foundation, and Navalny’s network of regional offices were recognised as extremist by the Moscow City Court on 9 June 2021.

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