The editor of a Russian news outlet that enraged the Kremlin with its investigations, including the poisoning of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, said authorities had declared him wanted.
The Insider’s editor-in-chief, Roman Dobrokhotov, told Reuters that authorities had accused him of illegally crossing the border to leave Russia.
He stated that he was currently outside of Russia and did not wish to reveal his location. He didn’t say how he got out of Russia.
The Federal Security Service, the successor agency to the Soviet KGB, said Dobrokhotov had illegally crossed the border into Ukraine on the night of July 31 on foot with the help of other unnamed individuals.
The FSB will seek his arrest and prosecution, it said in a statement.
The Interior Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
Media outlets and journalists critical of the authorities faced mounting pressure before a parliamentary election this month and the campaign against people the authorities deem threats to political stability shows no signs of letting up. The Insider angered authorities by helping to identify state security officials it said were behind the poisoning of Navalny in August last year. The Kremlin denies any responsibility for Navalny falling ill.
The Insider is one of several media outlets that Russia has this year declared “foreign agent” media, a designation that carries negative Soviet-era connotations, reduces advertising revenue and imposes labelling requirements on the outlets.
The Kremlin denies that media outlets are targeted for political reasons. It says action against them is solely based on the law and media designated as foreign agents can continue their work in Russia.
On Thursday morning, law enforcement officers searched two Moscow apartments belonging to Dobrokhotov’s family and parents and seized mobile phones and computers, the editor said on Twitter. The FSB also took his wife and father in for questioning, The Insider reported.
His lawyer Yulia Kuznetsova told Reuters he had been declared a wanted man on Sept. 23.
Dobrokhotov claimed that in July, police confiscated his passport after searching his home and naming him as a witness in an unrelated slander case.
He accused the police of illegally seizing his passport and told Reuters that he had every right to travel outside of Russia. He also stated that he thought the allegation that he had illegally crossed the border was absurd.
Dobrokhotov attended a conference in Tallinn, Estonia, in early September that was attended by Navalny’s allies. Navalny is currently serving prison time for charges he claims were fabricated.