Law enforcement agents search Moscow flat of Mediazona publisher Pyotr Verzilov’s mother

Law enforcement agents have come with a search warrant to the Moscow flat of Elena, the mother of Mediazona publisher Pyotr Verzilov, Mediazona itself reports, citing Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

The reason for the search is unknown at the moment.

Verzilov left Russia in 2020 after his and his relatives’ places had been searched. Back then, a criminal case under the article on “Failure to notify about possession of dual citizenship” was initiated against Verzilov. He was put on the wanted list.

According to the investigation, Verzilov received Canada’s citizenship in December 2014 and failed to notify the Russian authorities. He also failed to do so the following five years, according to the Investigative Committee. Mediazona previously explained that Verzilov’s father had lived in Canada, while Pyotr himself had gone to school there, after which he received the citizenship.

UPDATE 17:10

In the late afternoon, the search in Elena Verzilova’s flat was finished. She was called in for an interrogation to the Main Department of the Investigative Committee, Mediazona reports. According to the notice handed to her, Elena Verzilova has to come to the Investigative Committee tomorrow and give a statement as a witness. Still, there has been no clarification as to in relation to which case the search and interrogation are being conducted.

Verzilov, as well as Mediazona and its editor-in-chief Sergey Smirnov were included on the “media — foreign agents” list compiled by Russia’s Justice Ministry in September 2021. Smirnov said at the time that the decision was a “deeply discriminatory measure”.

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