Columnist Iskander Yasaveyev released by Tatarstan Court, but Journalism in Russia Remains Serious Cause for Concern

Columnist Iskander Yasaveyev released by Tatarstan Court, but Journalism in Russia Remains Serious Cause for Concern
Ashni Ahlawat . Unsplash 2024


Innocenti Chiara

Human Rights and Europe Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defense

Kazan, Russia, March 21, 2024 – The Supreme Court of Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan overturned the ruling of a local lower Court to fine the sociologist and columnist Iskander Yasaveyev for requiring the release of an RFE/RL journalist Alsu Kurmasheva with a placard.

On June 2nd of the past year, Alsu Lurmasheva, a seasoned Prague-based reporter with dual citizenship of the US and the Russian Federation was arrested in Kazan while waiting for her return flight to Czechoslovakia. The woman had returned for a few days at home consequently to a family emergency but ended up seeing herself deprived of both her passport and smartphone. Insofar prevented from leaving the country, on October 11th, she was fined 10,000 rubles on charges of “failing to inform Russian officials about holding a second citizenship” and she was finally detained for spreading falsehoods about the Russian Army and failing to register as a foreign agent. in Russia’s current judicial system, it is the last accusation that bears considerable significance. Under Article 1 of the Federal law n.  255-F3 from 2022, the expression “inostrannye agenty” (foreign agent) indicates any legal and natural person receiving financial aid or being under other types of foreign influence while carrying out a political activity, which is to be intended as collecting information about the national military, military-technical activities. With this regulatory framework and the Ukrainian War escalating into regional conflict, it is getting easier to imprison those journalists who are invested in working for a free flow of information. 

In the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, Russian journalism – which has always been under strict control of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology Roskomnadzor – has witnessed such a serious crackdown that the news coming in of Iskander Yasaveyev alone cannot inspire either little confidence for the safeguard of freedom of expression in the country.

Sources and further reading

(February 7, 2023), “Russian authorities seek 9-year prison term for journalist Maria Ponomarenko, detain RFE/RL columnist Iskander Yasaveyev”. The Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved on 23-03-2024, at:

(March 21, 2024), “Tatarstan Court Cancels Fine of Activist Who supported Detained RFE/RL Journalist”. Radio Free Europe: Radio Liberty. Retrieved on 22-03-2024, at:

(July 14, 2022), “Federalnij zakon o kontrole za dejatel’nost’ju liz, nachodjaŠichtsa pod inostrannym vljaniem”. Konsul’tantPljus. Retrieved on 22-03-2024, at:

(March 14, 2024), “Glava čexii prizval Rossiju jsvobodit’ Alsu KurmaŠevu”. Radio Svoboda. Retrieved on 22-03-2024, at:

(March 14, 2024), “Top Czech Diplomat Uses UN Debate to Demand Moscow Free RFE/RL Journalist Kurmasheva. Radio Free Europe: Radio Liberty. Retrieved on 14-03-2024, at: