Evan Gershkovich in the Media

By Tom Porter

Evan Gershkovich’s arrest and detention have understandably sparked widespread media attention. Here’s a roundup of some of the coverage, plus links to the articles (some of which are behind a paywall). 

February 20, 2024: A Russian court's rejection of the latest appeal by Gershkovich's lawyers means he is to remain imprisoned until at least March 30, which would mark more than a year since he was taken into custody on an allegation of espionage that The Wall Street Journal and the US government vehemently deny.

February 14, 2024: The Radio Television Digital News Assocation, more commonly known as RTDNA, is honoring Gershkovich with a 2024 First Amendment Award.

February 9, 2024: Russian President Vladimir Putin has mentioned the possibility of a prisoner exchange involving Evan Gershkovich. Putin made the remarks in a recent interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, reports The Wall Street Journal, and other media.

January 29, 2024: Gershkovich is set to spend to at least another two months in jail. According to The Wall Street Journal and other media, a Moscow judge ruled that Gershkovich remain in pretrial detention until March 30, by which time he will have spent a year behind bars on unsubstantiated espionage charges.

December 20, 2023: Speaking in a year-end news conference, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the US is looking for the “right way” to work with Moscow for the return of US hostages Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, reports The Wall Street Journal. “We are very actively working on it, and we will leave no stone unturned to see if we can’t find the right way to get them home… as soon as possible,” he said.

December 14: Russian President Vladimir Putin said dialogue with Washington over the release of US hostages, including Gershkovich, is ongoing. According to Associated Press, Putin, speaking at his year-end press conference, said the Kremlin hopes to “find a solution,” but “it’s not easy.”

December 4: The editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal issues a personal appeal for the release of Evan Gershkovich as the jailed reporter spends his 250th day behind bars in Russia, facing unsubstantiated espionage charges. Read more

November 28: Gershkovich will spend at least two more months behind bars in Moscow, where he awaits trial on unsubstantiated charges of espionage. For the third time since his arrest in late March 2023, Moscow authorities have extended his detention, reports The Wall Street Journal and other media. 

November 15: As Gershkovich approaches the completion of his eighth month behind bars, News Center Maine featured some comment from his sister Danielle describing how his family have only been able to communicate with him via a weekly letter since his detention in March. "It's a lifeline for all of us," she said. Gershkovich is due another trial hearing at the end of the month, but under Russian law, he can be detained for up to one year before a trial has to begin.

October 23: Gershkovich has been honored by Colby College for his dedication to journalism, reports WGME Portland television . At a ceremony on October 20 at the College’s campus in Waterville, Maine, Gershkovich was presented, in absentia, with the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for the “tenacity and courage” of his reporting from Russia before his arrest earlier this year. "Who are the last journalists left to tell a story that otherwise wouldn't be told?" Colby College President David Greene said. "To show the world what's happening when it would otherwise be unseen."

October 10: A judge in Moscow has denied an appeal to release Gershkovich from prison. This is the second appeal to the extension of Gershkovich's pre–trial detention that has been denied, and it means that he will remain incarcerated until at least November 30. Reports of this ruling appeared in numerous media outlets, including the Wall Street JournalAP NewsABC News, News Center Maine, and many more.

September 27: Members of the Bowdoin community, including classmates and former teachers of Gershkovich, were joined by The Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau chief Paul Beckett for an event on the Bowdoin campus on September 26 to honor the jailed WSJ reporter, six months after his arrest by Russian authorities. Beckett shared the stage with English professor Brock Clarke, who taught Gershkovich in his creative writing class, and award-winning journalist Linda Kinstler ’13, a close of friend of Gershkovich's. “We’re just trying to do everything we can to make his life better in these horrible circumstances,” said Kinstler. Read more.

September 19: Another setback for Gershkovich as a Moscow court declined to hear an appeal from the Wall Street Journal reporter. According to the Associated Press, Gershkovich, who made his first public appearance in several months at the court hearing, will remain in pretrial detention until at least November 30, “unless his appeal is heard in the meantime and he is released—an unlikely outcome.”

August 24: A court in Moscow has extended Gershokovich’s pretrial detention period by three months, according to numerous media reports. The Wall Street Journal reporter will now be detained until November 30, reported CNN and others, citing the press service of the Lefortovo Court in the Russian capital. Gershkovich’s pretrial detention period had been due to end on August 30, more than five months after his arrest.

August 14: The US ambassador to Russia has paid a visit to the jailed Wall Street Journal reporter, reports The Portland Press Herald and other media, including The New York Times. This was Lynne Tracy's third visit to Gershkovich since he was jailed in late March. “Ambassador Tracy said that Evan appears in good health and remains strong, despite his very challenging circumstances,"said State Department spokesman Vedant Patel. 

July 20: Journalists staged a twenty-four-hour readathon starting at 8:00 a.m. on July 19 to draw attention to the jailed reporter’s plight, reported the Catholic News Agency. Colleagues of Gershvkovich from The Wall Street Journal were joined by journalists from other media outlets for the event, which was held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Each journalist took a fifteen-minute slot, reading excerpts from Gershkovich’s large body of work, including articles he wrote for Agence France-Presse and The Moscow Times.

July 13: US President Joe Biden says he’s “serious” about a prisoner swap involving Gershkovoch, according to reports in The New York Times, CNN, Politico, and others. During a news conference in Finland, Biden confirmed that “a process is underway.” Meanwhile, Gershkovich’s sister says she’s feels encouraged by the efforts being made to keep his story in the spotlight. Danielle Gershkovich was speaking at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, that was reported in numerous media outlets, including ABC News and The Independent.

July 7: Evan Gershkovich’s family reflects on one hundred days of his detention in The Wall Street Journal.

July 4: As Gershkovich approaches his hundredth day behind bars, press reports indicate the Kremlin may be open to the possibility of a prisoner exchange. Several media outlets, including The New York Times, the BBC, and Gershkovich’s employer The Wall Street Journal, reported on July 4 that Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Peskov said “certain contacts” had been made in apparent reference to the situation. But, added Peskov, such discussions would remain behind closed doors and should “continue in complete silence.” This came a day after the US ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, was allowed to visit Gershkovich for the first time since mid-April, and only for the second time since his imprisonment in late March. 

June 28: MarketWatch reported that the US was “stridently” asking for improved consular access to Gershkovich. White House spokesman John Kirby told the newswire service that the US Embassy had been granted some access to the jailed reporter, “in keeping with the milestones of the so-called judicial process there, but,” he added, “we haven’t had regular access to him such as we require.”

June 22: A Moscow court rejected an appeal by Gershkovich’s lawyers calling for the release of the detained Wall Street Journal reporter. According to reports in the WSJ, Associated Press, and elsewhere, the ruling upholds an earlier decision ordering Gershkovich to remain in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison until at least August 30 as he awaits trial.

June 14: A bipartisan group of nearly three dozen US senators has written a letter to Gershkovich “expressing their ‘profound anger and concern’ over his detention by the Russian government,” reported The Wall Street Journal. The letter, which was initiated by Chris Coons (D., Del.) and James Risch (R., Idaho), says a “free press is crucial to the foundation and support of human rights everywhere,” and that every day Gershkovich spends in a Russian prison “is a day too long.”

June 13: The US House of Representatives voted unanimously (422-0) to approve a bipartisan resolution calling on Russia to immediately free Gershkovich, reported several media outlets. The resolution, which doesn’t have the binding force of US law but does underline congressional support for Biden administration efforts to free him, also demands Moscow provides Gershkovich with unfettered access to US consular officials during his imprisonment. Read more in The WSJ.

May 30: President Joe Biden praised the “absolute courage” of Evan Gershkovich and reiterated calls for the immediate release of the journalist, who remains detained in Moscow, reported The Guardian and other media outlets on April. 

May 27: The outgoing president of Bowdon College reiterated the community’s support for 2014 graduate Gershkovich in his speech at the College’s annual graduation ceremony. “It’s hard for any of us to imagine the nightmare that he’s living through, and that his parents are going through,” Rose said in his remarks, which were picked up by media outlets including News Center Maine and WGME Channel 13, and The Portland Press Herald. “And we all very much hope that Evan is home soon."

May 26: Gershkovich’s employer, The Wall Street Journal, has reportedly been warned by an unnamed Moscow source against continuing to publish "disinformation" about Russia, according to a Newsweek article citing Russian state-owned media. In a veiled threat to the jailed reporter, the source said the Journal’s decision to keep publishing “fake” news about Russia “suggests they don’t care about the fate” of Gershkovich.

May 23: A Russian court has extended the pretrial detention of Gershkovich by a further three months, according to The Wall Street Journal and other media. “In a hearing before a judge at Lefortovo District Court in Moscow, investigators from the Federal Security Service, known as the FSB, asked for Gershkovich to remain behind bars awaiting trial,” says the paper, citing the Russian state news agency TASS. This promptly led to further calls from the White House for Gershkovich’s immediate release, reports The Guardian, citing CNN. Gershkovich’s employer, The Wall Street Journal, released this video timeline, providing a breakdown of the events surrounding his arrest and a look at what comes next.

May 17: According to Reuters, White House officials have called the Kremlin to request the release of detained Americans Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan. The article cited Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, who told a Moscow TV station that US officials "‘sometimes call’ Yury Ushakov, a presidential aide specializing in foreign affairs, and send ‘one and the same signal’ demanding the release of the two men. He did not say how Ushakov responded.”

May 10: The Republican-led US House of Representatives is considering a motion to call on Russia to release Gershkovich, reported The Wall Street Journal. The bipartisan effort, we are told, is being led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX). “A strong vote in support of the measure could strengthen the Biden administration’s efforts to get Mr. Gershkovich returned to the US,” said the article.

May 9: The Russian Foreign Ministry is accusing the US government of using “pressure and threats” in its efforts to negotiate the freedom of Gershkovich, reported Reuters, citing state-owned Russian media. The accusation was made by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who said Moscow would ignore such tactics. He did not say what form the alleged pressure had taken.

May 8: Representatives from hundreds of Jewish communities across the US and Canada have rallied around Gershkovich, adding their voice to calls for his release, said The Wall Street Journal. In an online meeting leaders of the Jewish Federations of North America appealed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken to “use all available resources to secure the release of... Gershkovich.”

April 28: NBC News spoke to two friends and classmates of Gershkovich from Bowdoin— Sam Silverman and Jeremy Berke—about Gershkovich’s detainment and how he might be reacting to it. 

Foreign correspondent Polina Ivanova wrote an opinion piece for The Financial Times paying tribute to her friend Gershkovich. She recalls getting to know him soon after they both arrived in Moscow in 2017. “[W]e we chased the same stories, learnt the ropes,” she said. “Evan loves journalism not just as a profession but as a craft.”

April 27: Gershkovich is a victim of ‘lawfare,’ a strategy increasingly used by authoritarian regimes to silence journalists, according to Jodie Ginsberg, president of the Committee to Protect Journalists. She was interviewed on Barron’s news service by Editor at large Andy Serwer ’81. 

April 26: The possibility of a prisoner swap involving Gershkovich was hinted at by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, reported The New York Times. The channel to discuss detained American and Russian citizens, created in 2021, remains open, said Lavrov speaking at a United Nations press conference on Tuesday, April 25. But, he added, publicity “will only complicate the process.”

April 25: Lavrov’s comments come after the US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, demanded Moscow free Gershkovich and another detained American, Paul Whelan. She made the plea at a meeting of the UN Security Council led by Lavrov, reported The Wall Street Journal, and others. Thomas-Greenfield accused Russia of using the two men as “bargaining chips, human pawns.”

April 24: More than 300 journalists, all foreign correspondents who have worked in Moscow, signed on to a letter to the Russian government, calling for the immediate release of Gershkovich. The letter says his arrest sends a “disturbing and dangerous signal” about the country’s attitude toward independent media, reported The Guardian and other media outlets. The signatories include The New York Times’s Bill Keller and David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker.

April 18: The New York Times reported on Gershkovich's first public appearance since his detainment when he declared his innocence from within a glass defendant's cage in a Moscow courtroom to charges of spying. As was expected, the judge denied Gershkovich's appeal to lift his pretrial detention, ordering him back to the Lefortovo prison, "one of the most infamous detention centers in Russia, where inmates are held in isolation with only rare visits by lawyers."

April 13: Time has included Gershkovich in the 2023 "100 Most Influential People" list's leaders category, writing,  "The fewer journalists there are like Gershkovich in Russia, the more freedom Putin gets to rule by lies."

April 10: The New York Times has published an extensive article outlining details of Gershkovich’s arrest, his career in journalism, and tributes from his friends, underscoring his commitment to helping people understand what’s going on in Russia.  

April 8/9: Gershkovich was formally charged with spying by the Russian authorities on Friday, April 7, reported a number of outlets over the weekend, including the BBC, Forbes, and Reuters, all citing Russian media. The White House criticized his arrest in “the strongest possible terms,” reported the BBC. “And on Friday in a rare joint statement, Senate Republican and Democratic leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer strongly condemned his detention.”

April 6: A Moscow court said it would hear an appeal from Gershkovich’s lawyers on April 18, reported The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Fox News, and others. 

April 3: “Detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has filed an appeal against his arrest in Russia,” reported CNN, citing the Russian state news agency TASS. Gershkovich is being held until May 29 in a pretrial detention center in Moscow, where he faces up to twenty years in prison on espionage charges, we are told. 

April 2: “Evan Gershkovich's Arrest Marks a New Era of Hostage Diplomacy” was the headline for a piece in The Wall Street Journal in which reporter Louise Radnofsky describesd Gershkovich as “the latest in a growing list of Americans who have been detained by foreign governments on bogus or politicized charges, often to gain leverage with Washington.”

“Journalist Detained by Russia Was Reporting Stories That ‘Needed to Be Told’” was the headline in a New York Times article, also from April 2. Gershkovich “knew the risks of reporting in Russia but felt a deep connection to the country, his friends said,” wrote the Times’s Katie Robertson.

“US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who Russia accuses of spying, in a call on Sunday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said Washington should not politicize the case,” reported Reuters news agency.

March 31: This is from a Washington Post opinion piece by Jason Rezaian, written in response to Gershkovich’s detention: “In arresting Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the state he controls are sending a very clear message to the international community, and the United States in particular: Journalism in Russia is dead, and foreign correspondents are not welcome.” 

Following Gershkovich’s detention, a coalition of news organizations issued a statement condemning the arrest and calling for his immediate release. 

Writing in The New Yorker magazine, Joshua Yaffa described the “unimaginable horror” of his friend’s arrest. He recalled getting to know Gershkovich as a fellow Moscow correspondent in recent years. During this time, Yaffa noted how Russia had “shifted in an unmistakably repressive direction, transitioning from an autocracy that pretended, however flimsily, to be a democracy to a state that didn’t bother hiding its claws.”

March 30: CNN talked to national security analyst David Sanger to discuss the implications of Gershkovich’s arrest and to look at the some of the reporting he had been doing in Russia recently that would have made him unpopular with the Kremlin. Watch the interview

Follow The Wall Street Journal’s latest updates on the Gershkovich story.