INSIDE SOURCES

Reporter expelled from Russia shares his insight on Evan Gershkovich case

Apr 3, 2023, 9:00 PM | Updated: Jan 5, 2024, 3:00 pm

The Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich is shown in this undated photo. Russia's securi...

The Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich is shown in this undated photo. Russia's security service arrested the American reporter for The Wall Street Journal on espionage charges, the first time a U.S. correspondent has been detained on spying accusations since the Cold War, the Federal Security Service, known by the acronym FSB, said Thursday, March 30, 2023. The newspaper denied the allegations and demanded his release. Andrew Nagorski, a reporter who was expelled from Russia in the 1980s, discussed the current situation on Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson. (The Wall Street Journal via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(The Wall Street Journal via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — Last week, it was reported that Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been arrested in Russia and charged with spying.

Former U.S. journalist Andrew Nagorski was kicked out of Russia in 1982 after the government became upset with his reporting. Nagorski joined Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson on Monday to discuss his case and the case involving Gershkovich. They also discuss the seriousness of the espionage charge.

Matheson starts the conversation, “Why don’t we start with your experience, and then let’s apply it to the news of the day.”

Before the Evan Gershkovich case

Nagorski went to Moscow as a young journalist in 1981 for Newsweek Magazine

“When  you went to Moscow in those days,” Nagorski said. “You knew very well that there were various traps, there were various pitfalls that you might fall into.”

He says while Russia accredited western journalists, there were all sorts of procedures a journalist was required to follow. For instance, if you were traveling outside of Moscow, you had to let the Foreign Ministry press department know where you were going.

“They had various ways of putting pressure on you if they didn’t like what you were reporting,” Nagorski said. 

His work included a story on the unrest in the Baltic States when things were very repressed. He also went to central Asia and talked to Muslims about their war in Afghanistan.

“I immediately got into a sense that they were angry with me about various reports,” Nagorski said. 

He says the KGB began following him with the idea to intimidate him. Additionally, they also followed him to possibly intimidate any Soviets who may have wanted to speak with Nagorski.

During those days, Nagorski thought the worst that could happen to him was that he would be expelled from the country.

“Although there was always that possibility that they might accuse you of spying,” he said. “Which is an awful accusation in the sense that whatever you say, some people may believe some of it. But because as a journalist, you do all these things that could be interpreted as spying. You’re looking for information, you’re talking to people, you’re observing, but they clearly knew I was not a spy.”

Evan Gershkovich is a journalist, not a spy

He says that Russia clearly knows Gershkovich is not a spy.

“But they’re doing it for other reasons,” Nagorski said.

Nagorski says Gershkovich was accredited to be there. However, when tensions between the US and Russia rise, reporters such as Gershkovich become an easy target. Additionally, he has Gershkovich speaks good Russian as both his parents are from there.

“The more a reporter is comfortable in that society and linguistically, the more they dislike him,” Nagorski said. “They like people who are as ignorant as possible or as unobservant as possible.”

Nagorski isn’t sure who Russia would want from the US in exchange for Gershkovich, but says there is another issue at work here.

“At a minimum, they want to squeeze the remaining journalists as much as possible,” he said. 

 

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Inside Sources

Dow...

Curt Gresseth

Dow closes down more than 500 points

The Dow dropped more than 750 points before closing down 525 points as inflation numbers rose higher than economists were anticipating.

19 days ago

cellphone schools...

Curt Gresseth

Governor’s message to students: ‘hang up and learn’

Gov. Spencer Cox wants cellphones to be banned in Utah schools during instruction time.

1 month ago

debt...

Curt Gresseth

Romney and Moore look to tame $34 trillion U.S. debt

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, weighing in on the $34 trillion U.S. debt and what, if anything, can do about it.

2 months ago

Cooper Brannon, 8, watches his father, Austin, vote at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Sa...

Simone Seikaly

One more day to officially switch political parties in Utah

This voter switching date is important for anybody who wants to participate in the Republican caucus on March 5.

2 months ago

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, center left, and Texas Department of Public Safety chief Steve McC...

VALERIE GONZALEZ and STEPHEN GROVES

Speaker Johnson demands hard-line policies during a border visit

A congressional trip to Eagle Pass, Texas, follows demands for more hard-line immigration policies in exchange for Ukraine funding.

2 months ago

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and Jon Batiste speak on stage during MTV's Mental Health Is ...

Mariah Maynes

A look into the surgeon general’s efforts against loneliness epidemic

Following the issuance of a public health warning about loneliness, the surgeon general has been visiting college campuses to promote social connection.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Reporter expelled from Russia shares his insight on Evan Gershkovich case