The court also authorized the house arrest of Alexander Veselchakov, adviser to the General Director of the Chief Radio Frequency Center (CRFC), an agency under the auspices of Roskomnadzor that monitors radio frequencies.
The business daily Kommersant reported that the general director of CRFC, Anastasiya Zvyagintseva claimed she was forced to put “dead souls” on payroll to give value employees pay raises, including Yedinin. Zvyagintseva has been released pending trial.
Watching the watchers
Now independent media and bloggers, who previously felt Roskomnadzor loom large, are learning that the watchdog’s officials were themselves under scrutiny.
Kommersant reported that for six months the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s domestic intelligence, monitored the telephones of Roskomnadzor employees as well as their bank transactions.
“Roskomnadzor is Blocked,” crowed a headline at the independent news site Novaya Gazeta, which has faced the threat of closure — The outlet published an essay comparing Russian officials to those in Nazi Germany and another quoting a profanity. A third warning could lead to the outlet’s closure.
Independent journalist Igor Yakovenko said in an online panel discussion organized by Radio Svoboda he felt “a sense of deep satisfaction” at the Roskomnadzor arrests. It turned out, he said, that the agency was no different from any other corrupt Russian government branch.
But human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov said that even if Roskomnadzor were to be disbanded, other agencies would take on its repressive functions.
“I think the country is gradually moving toward isolation, including on the Internet,” he added. “The clouds are gathering over Radio Svoboda and Voice of America.”