Russia investigating journalist over failure to disclose Israeli citizenship

Parfyonov received Israeli citizenship in 2017, but now resides in Georgia.

 Russian journalist Leonid Parfyonov applauds during a news conference, organized by the League of Voters committee, to discuss the results of the recent presidential election in Moscow, March 7, 2012. (photo credit: REUTERS/ANTON GOLUBEV)
Russian journalist Leonid Parfyonov applauds during a news conference, organized by the League of Voters committee, to discuss the results of the recent presidential election in Moscow, March 7, 2012.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ANTON GOLUBEV)

Russian journalist Leonid Parfyonov is being investigated by police due to not notifying relevant authorities of his Israeli citizenship, a law enforcement source told Russian news source RIA Novosti on Friday.

The news was accompanied by a photo of what appeared to be Parfyonov's Israeli passport shared in the RIA Novosti Telegram channel.

Parfyonov received Israeli citizenship in 2017, but now resides in Georgia, according to the source.

Journalists receive poor treatment in Russia

This is not the first incident this year of a Russian journalist fleeing the country on an Israeli passport.

In late October, media figure Ksenia Sobchak fled from Russia to Lithuania - also on an Israeli passport, according to a Lithuanian official. Sobchak received Israeli citizenship this year around the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A separate incident in the same month saw a former Russian state TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova fleeing the country after being accused of spreading "fake news" on Russia's military. She was formerly under house arrest before escaping Russia.

 A pro-Ukraine rally in front of the Knesset. The war after Russia invaded Ukraine was one of the events of the year, and here we can see the anguish of Ukrainian Israelis. February 2022. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) A pro-Ukraine rally in front of the Knesset. The war after Russia invaded Ukraine was one of the events of the year, and here we can see the anguish of Ukrainian Israelis. February 2022. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Antisemitic incident in Moscow

In March of this year, journalist Alexei Venediktov, who is Jewish, found a pig’s head and a Ukraine coat of arms sticker with the phrase “Judensau” – a German-language slur meaning “Jewish Pig” – emblazoned across the Ukrainian logo outside his Moscow apartment, according to The Moscow Times.

Tzvi Joffre and Reuters contributed to this report.