Chief editor of the independent investigative outlet Proekt, Roman Badanin, will not return to Russia amid what critics call a Kremlin crackdown on non-state news outlets, Reuters reported Thursday.
Russia’s Justice Ministry added Badanin and three other Proekt journalists to its list of “foreign agents,” while the Prosecutor General’s Office outlawed the outlet itself as “undesirable,” two weeks ago.
In an interview with Reuters from New York, Badanin said he was on vacation when Proekt was blacklisted as “undesirable,” prompting him to decide against returning to Russia “on the spot.”
Badanin said he was in New York temporarily and did not know where he would ultimately settle.
Badanin told Reuters that Proekt staff were also exposed due to their “foreign agent” designations and a criminal investigation into alleged slander against the outlet.
“We are trying to evacuate staff — if the staff members agree, of course — to one of the nearby countries,” Reuters quoted Badanin as saying.