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Russia Adds RFE/RL Contributor To ‘Extremist’ List

RFE/RL Russian Service Contributor Svetlana Prokopyeva was added to Rosfinmonitoring's list of terrorists and extremists.

Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service, Rosfinmonitoring, has added Pskov-based journalist and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Russian Service contributor Svetlana Prokopyeva to its list of terrorists and extremists, according to the journalist’s Facebook page and Rosfinmonitoring’s website on July 4.

Prokopyeva told RFE/RL she received a notification from her bank that her accounts had been blocked. She said her addition to the list took place just as she received her salary, resulting in “all the money on the card” being unavailable, and that she didn’t even have “100 paper rubles in her wallet.”

She has not yet been presented with formal charges.

In early February, prosecutors launched an investigation against Prokopyeva, alleging that she violated a law against "justifying terrorism through the use of the media." The accusations referred to a commentary she aired on the Pskov-based radio station, Echo of Moscow (Ekho Moskvy in Russian) in November 2018 following a suicide bomb attack by a Russian 17-year-old teenager near the Federal Security Service building in Arkhangelsk, Russia in October 2018. The attacker died in the explosion.

In her commentary, Prokopyeva said that the state itself had “raised” a generation of citizens who are fighting against what they consider to be a repressive regime. Russia’s media regulator, known locally as Roskomnadzor, characterized her words as justifying acts of terrorism.

Investigators searched Prokopyeva’s house in February and she was briefly detained for questioning.

In related developments, a Pskov court issued a fine of approximately $2,200 to the Echo of Moscow Pskov affiliate for publishing the transcript of Prokopyeva’s broadcast on its website. The same court fined the website Pskov Newsfeed approximately $3,000 for reprinting her remarks.

--Eric Baker