August 28, 2023

The FSB Takes a "Journalistic" Approach


The FSB Takes a "Journalistic" Approach
Protest against Russian invasion in Ukraine, Lisbon, Portugal, February 27, 2022. Alice Kotlyarenko, Unsplash.

An activist from Petrozavodsk, Andriy Lytvyn, was brought into questioning by an undercover officer from the FSB, Russia's internal security service. The officer was posing as a journalist from Meduza, an independent Russian-language news site that has been declared undesirable by Russian authorities.

On August 24, an unknown person telephoned Lytvyn, claiming to be an independent journalist interested in his work as a civic activist. Upon the unknown man’s request to meet up, Lytvyn offered his workplace’s address. However, three people in civilian clothing arrived and presented their FSB identification, advising Lytvyn to follow them.

Novaya Gazeta reports Lytvyn’s experience: "When we got into the car, they said we needed to go home and pick up our things. They warned me not to tell my wife anything. When we arrived at my house, for some reason the three of them entered the apartment. My wife, of course, was scared, and I only took toothpaste and a brush. Then they asked if I had my mobile phone with me. They said to take it and the laptop. Also [to take] the Ukrainian flag, with which I went to Memorial Day in Sandarmokh. They asked, ‘What else Ukrainian do you have?’ I answered, ‘Embroidery.’ ‘Take it, too.’"

According to “From Karelia with Freedom,” Lytvyn was given a clear message: to stop his activism. At the station, FSB officers began to study his cell phone and laptop, especially showing interest in his contacts with other activists.

Surprisingly, Lytvyn said he was released without any charges and was returned all of his things — except for the Ukrainian flag.

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