The arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich in Moscow the other day put me in mind of the advice a friend who was formerly in Army Intelligence once gave me. I told him I'd been invited to Ekaterinburg and he said, "Check with the State Department first. There are times when the Russian government is looking to arrest somebody who's prominent enough to be newsworthy but not so important as to present any problems to them."
Which explains Brittney Griner last year and Gershkovich now.
There's an irony in this case because Mr. Gershovich's parents fled Russia out of fear of very much this sort of arbitrary persecution. But he went to Moscow, found work as a reporter, and fell in love with Russia and its people. That's not hard to do. Russia is vast and varied and its citizens, at least the ones I met, are so much like Americans that their very emphatic differences from us are strange and intriguing.
But the people in charge...
Well, let's just say that those even a little familiar with Russia, like me, were not at all surprised when Evan Gershkovich was arrested.
Above: The photo was taken from New York Magazine. You can find their article here.