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Russia Issues Arrest Warrant for U.S.-Russian Journalist Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen. Innisfree987 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Russian authorities on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Russian-American journalist and writer Masha, who earlier this year was charged with spreading “fakes” about Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Russia’s Interior Ministry lists the 56-year-old by the full name Maria Alexandrovna Gessen, as well as her date of birth, gender and nationality.

The ministry does not provide details of the allegations against Gessen.

Gessen — who uses they/them pronouns — is a nonbinary and transgender person. They moved to New York in 2013, when Russia started imposing restrictive policies against the LGBT community.

Gessen is a longtime outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin.

In August, the journalist was charged with “war fakes” over comments about the massacre of Ukrainian civilians in Bucha, which were made in a September 2022 interview with popular YouTuber Yury Dud’, the independent broadcaster Dozhd reported last month.

Moscow denies the atrocities against civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, instead accusing Kyiv and its Western allies of staging the scenes.

Russia outlawed disseminating “knowingly false information” about the Russian military shortly after invading Ukraine in February 2022, with punishments ranging from fines to a maximum of 15 years in prison.

The UN estimates nearly 200 people have been prosecuted for “fake news” about the Russian military as of mid-2023.

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