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Joshua Yaffa on Evan Gershkovich, a Colleague and Friend

Joshua Yaffa on Evan Gershkovich, a Colleague and Friend

Update: 2023-05-081
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Joshua Yaffa first met Evan Gershkovich after Gershkovich arrived in Moscow as a young reporter in 2017. As their friendship grew, Yaffa was impressed with the energy and passion Gershkovich brought to his job. “He had a really deep and nuanced sense of Russia,” Yaffa tells David Remnick. As the regime moved toward authoritarianism and then war, “Evan was not sanguine or Pollyannaish or naïve about the context in which he was working. He understood this was a very different Russia than the one he had arrived to.” Still, Yaffa says, there was little reason to think a foreign journalist would be targeted by Putin until Gershkovich was arrested in March and charged with espionage—quite obviously a false accusation. It’s the first time the Kremlin has imprisoned an American reporter for spying since the nineteen-eighties, and a significant escalation of tensions between the countries. Yaffa, who has spoken with  Gershkovich’s family, reflects on Gershkovich’s reporting and life in Moscow, and what may lie ahead. “I’ve been sending him letters,” Yaffa says. “I tell him how proud I am of him, of course how worried I am about him—but mainly how impressed I am.”

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Joshua Yaffa on Evan Gershkovich, a Colleague and Friend

Joshua Yaffa on Evan Gershkovich, a Colleague and Friend

WNYC Studios and The New Yorker