50 Influential Jews: Evan Gershkovich - No. 48

A Jewish journalist working for the Wall Street Journal, Evan Gershkovich was arrested in Russia, the first journalist accused of espionage there since the Cold War.

  Evan Gershkovich (photo credit: REUTERS)
Evan Gershkovich
(photo credit: REUTERS)

On the evening of March 29, Evan Gershkovich’s driver dropped him off at a steakhouse in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. A short time later, he was taken from the restaurant by security agents and whisked away. The next morning, Russian state media announced that the Wall Street Journal reporter had been accused of espionage – the first such case since the Cold War.

Gershkovich, 31, was born in New York to Jewish parents who had fled the Soviet Union. He fell in love with Russian, which his family spoke at home. At the time of his arrest, he had been living in Moscow for six years, having previously worked for The New York Times, The Moscow Times, and AFP. According to his mother, he was also exploring his Jewish roots.

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Both the Journal and the US government have vehemently denied the charges against Gershkovich. There have been reports that he is being held by Russia in order to be traded in a prisoner exchange. US President Joe Biden said in July that he is “serious” about pursuing such a swap.

Since his arrest, Gershkovich has been at the center of a broad international campaign aimed at securing his release. During Passover this year, many Jewish families across America and elsewhere left an empty seat at their seder tables in his honor. 

Like other media outlets around the world, we at The Jerusalem Post have called for Gershkovich’s immediate release. His continued detention is a stain on Russia and an ongoing affront to freedom of the press everywhere.

Let him go!