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Evan Gershkovich Update: “Not Losing Hope”

President Joe Biden says the U.S. is “working every day” to free Wall Street reporter Evan Gershkavich, who was detained by Russian security services on March 29 on alleged espionage charges. 


While The Wall Street Journal and the U.S. government deny all charges of espionage, Gershkovich has remained in jail for two weeks, being denied permission to be released from pretrial detention, which means Gershkavich will be detained until his trial on May 29. Russia has also denied permission for any consular visits. 


Under these circumstances, the U.S. classifies Gershkavich as being wrongfully detained and has launched efforts to put Russia under pressure to release Gershkavich or, at the very least, give some explanations for what is happening. While Russia has not provided the U.S. government or The Wall Street Journal with any answers, they have allowed Gershkavich to have some correspondence with his family back home. 


His first letter to his parents, dated April 5, was optimistic and humorous. Gershkavich wrote about prison food and how is spending his time reading, exercising, and writing. “Maybe, finally, I am going to write something good,” he wrote. Gershkavich also wrote to his parents that he was optimistic about getting released and was looking forward to seeing them when he was. 


Gershkavich joked with his mother in the letter that she prepared him well for jail food, telling her that when he gets hot creamed wheat, oatmeal cereal, or wheat gruel, he remembers his childhood. 


All letters Gershkavich sends are monitored by Russia’s security services, and the only people he has been allowed to see are Russian lawyers, despite consistent demands from U.S. Embassy officials to visit Gershkavich.


In spite of this, friends and family members have organized a campaign to send him supportive letters while he waits in jail. The letters are translated into Russian before being mailed to the Lefortovo prison where Gershkavich is being detained. He said in his letter to his parents that he has received care packages, including items such as toiletries, slippers, clothes, pens, and other items to help make life more comfortable. He joked to his parents that he thinks he has more stuff in prison now than they do in their home. He also told his parents that he had read each letter with careful gratitude. “I am humbled and deeply touched by all the letters I received,” he wrote.


Biden applauded Gershkovich’s courage during an annual dinner for White House correspondents Saturday night. Biden assured Gershkovich’s parents, who were in the audience, that the American people stood with them. Many in the audience wore shirts and buttons with the words “Free Evan” on them.


“Journalism is not a crime,” Biden said. “I promise, I am working like hell to bring them home.” 




Edited by Sean Mulryan

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