Rare victory for an independent journalist in Russia follows wide public anger over case
By Henry Foy
A Russian investigative reporter arrested last week on drugs charges has been freed after the case sparked national protests, triggering a rare U-turn by a government increasingly nervous about public discontent.
The decision to free Ivan Golunov is an unprecedented victory for independent journalists in Russia, who often face extreme pressure from the state and threats against their lives. The abrupt climbdown also underscores Moscow’s fear of potential popular unrest amid wide dissatisfaction over falling incomes, a higher pension age and tepid economic growth.
Mr Golunov, a reporter for online outlet Meduza and known for his articles exposing government corruption, was detained by police last week on drug trafficking charges that he said were fabricated in retaliation for his investigative work. His arrest sparked widespread condemnation that spread beyond media circles and caught the Kremlin off-guard.