The editor of a Russian news outlet that angered the Kremlin with its investigations, including into the poisoning of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, said the authorities had declared him a wanted man.
Roman Dobrokhotov, editor-in-chief of The Insider, told Reuters the authorities had accused him of illegally crossing the border to leave Russia.
He said he was currently outside Russia and did not want to disclose his location. He did not say how he had left Russia.
The Interior Ministry did not respond to a request for comment. There was no other confirmation of Dobrokhotov’s status from the authorities.
Media outlets and journalists critical of the authorities faced mounting pressure before a parliamentary election this month and the campaign against people the authorities deem as threats to political stability shows no signs of letting up.
The Insider angered authorities by helping identify state security officials it said were behind the poisoning of Navalny in August last year. The Kremlin denies any responsibility for Navalny falling ill.
The Insider is one of several media outlets that Russia has this year declared “foreign agent” media, a designation that carries negative Soviet-era connotations, affects advertising revenue and imposes labeling requirements on the outlets.
The Kremlin denies media outlets are targeted for political reasons. It says action against them is solely based on the law and media labeled as foreign agents can continue their work in Russia.
On Thursday morning, police searched two Moscow apartments belonging to Dobrokhotov’s family and parents and seized mobile phones and computers, Dobrokhoyov said on Twitter. Police officers also took his wife in for questioning, The Insider reported.
His lawyer Yulia Kuznetsova told Reuters he had been declared a wanted man on Sept. 23.
Dobrokhotov said police confiscated his passport in July after officers searched his home and named him as a witness in an unrelated slander case.
He accused the police of acting illegally by taking his passport and told Reuters he had every right to travel outside Russia. He also said he considered the allegation he had illegally crossed the border to be absurd.
“This is obviously a tool to put pressure on me in the first place and secondly an attempt to find out where I am and what kind of investigations I am currently engaged in,” he said.
Dobrokhotov earlier this month accused the Russian state of destroying the media and said he and his colleagues faced a choice about whether to leave Russia or stay and become political prisoners.
Dobrokhotov attended a conference in Estonia’s Tallinn in early September that was attended by allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.