“Van der Werff is a clearly pro-Putin figure,” says Sauer. “It is of course his right, but for the Russians it is now a practical tool.”
According to Dobrochotov, the libel case is a stick with which to beat the dog. And it does indeed look a lot like this, says correspondent Geert Groot Koerkamp: “Why would you look for a home in a libel case, and not only with him, but also with his parents? It happens more often that house searches are also carried out on relatives, says Groot Koerkamp: “To increase the pressure on someone.”
Officially, Dobrochotov is only a witness, Russian authorities say. But that is not reassuring, says Groot Koerkamp: “It can immediately become a suspect.”
Laptops, phones and tablets were seized in Dobrochotov. His passport was also confiscated, preventing Dobrochotov from leaving the country. He was about to travel abroad. Groot Koerkamp: “A van involved in the search had a license plate from the FSB, the Russian Secret Service. So it looks like there is more going on.”
Last week, The Insider was called a “foreign agent”. This happens more often with NGOs and the media which Russia considers unwelcome: “Sometimes the reason may be that you receive a donation of one euro from abroad. The insider is registered in Latvia. Similar media are also recorded abroad: Meduza in Lithuania and VTimes in the Netherlands.
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