The Insider journalist says she is receiving anonymous threats to her family in Russia

Marfa Smirnova, a journalist with The Insider, a Russia-focused independent media outlet, says that she has been receiving threats from unidentified individuals on social media over the past few months.

Smirnova received a disturbing wiretap of her family’s Moscow flat, The Insider writes. “The audio recording captured conversations within the apartment, and she was also sent a photo of her family members in a car,” the media outlet notes.

A screenshot from one of the conversations shows an unknown person threatening Smirnova: “Keep writing about things you shouldn’t. And you’ll end up meeting me.”

Up until March 2022, Marfa Smirnova was a host at TV Rain. After the channel was forced to shut down in Russia, she began working for The Insider. Smirnova hosts a news show on The Insider Live YouTube channel and also records podcasts.

When the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Smirnova was on holiday in Georgia. She chose not to return to Russia. Smirnova’s Instagram shows that she has been to Ukraine twice since the start of the war: in December 2022 and in April 2023. She started receiving threats in April.

Updated 5:50 PM UTC+3

Marfa Smirnova confirms to Novaya Gazeta Europe that she started receiving threats during her latest trip to Ukraine. She also offered several versions as to who may be behind those messages.

She told Novaya-Europe that they are currently considering different versions of who could be sending the threats: someone from the special services, from the Wagner Group, or a stalker that watches Smirnova’s live shows. “The third option would probably be the most positive outcome out of all of them,” Smirnova says.

Smirnova added that her relatives have no plans to leave Russia permanently, but they likely will leave the country for some time.

The journalist says she does not feel she is under surveillance in Georgia, where she currently resides, but she once received a message that said someone “saw her today”.

Marfa Smirnova in Kupyansk. Photo: social media

Marfa Smirnova in Kupyansk. Photo: social media

Following Smirnova’s trip, independent media outlet Verstka published her report from the liberated Kherson. The Insider also published a news article citing Smirnova about deported children returning to Ukraine.

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