The founder of the Ingush news site Fortanga, Izabella Evloeva, has been placed on Russia’s federal wanted list for ‘spreading misinformation’ about the Russian army, Evloeva has said.
The Russian Investigative Committee initiated the criminal case against Evloeava on Wednesday, the third charge under the same article leveled against her since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Evloeva, who is currently based in Prague, told OC Media that her lawyer had confirmed that she was now wanted by the authorities. She added that she was trying to discover if she had been placed on any international wanted lists.
‘An international search will certainly complicate the choice of countries to which I can go’, she said. ‘I have political asylum. It protects me. And besides, I’m a journalist, and the case is political, so I don’t think I’ll be deported, despite constant threats by security officials on Telegram channels’.
Evloeva said that Russian security forces had consistently attempted to blackmail her by harassing her family, who remain in Russia, with the latest incident taking place in June 2022.
‘They arrived early in the morning and knocked on the door’, Evloeva recalled. ‘Mum and dad opened it and immediately realised it was a search when they saw a crowd of law enforcers’.
The journalist said that her mother was hospitalised due to a hypertensive crisis as a result of the search.
‘That evening, a relative called me and said that he had a conversation with the security forces and that they said I should stop writing on my pages and Fortanga or they will harass my parents.’
‘They asked sarcastically if I liked it when my elderly parents were dragged [to the Investigative Committee] like that’, she said.
Despite harassment by Russian authorities, Evloeva said she planned to start new projects and transfer Fortanga to another person in Ingushetia, whose name she did not disclose.
‘My departure [from Fortanga] will not be due to pressure or anything like that because I have other journalistic plans. I’ll work on bigger projects, not as local as Fortanga.’
Evloeva previously came under investigation for her coverage of the 2019 protests in Ingushetia and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Two criminal cases were initiated against her for attempting to circumvent censorship of her website by sharing news on Telegram instead.