Publisher Of Mediazona Website Added To Russia’s Wanted List

Pyotr Verzilov in 2018  

Pyotr Verzilov, the publisher of the independent media website Mediazona, has been added to Russia’s wanted list for allegedly hiding his dual citizenship.

Verzilov’s lawyer, Leonid Solovyov, confirmed on November 15 that his client’s name appeared on the wanted list on the Interior Ministry’s website over his alleged failure to report to authorities that he also holds Canadian citizenship.

Mediazona reported that Verzilov was added to the registry in January.

Solovyov said that Verzilov had never hidden his Canadian citizenship, a fact that had been known in public circles for years.

In July 2020, the Investigative Committee said it had launched an investigation of Verzilov over his failure to report his Canadian citizenship to migration authorities. It is not known exactly when Verzilov was granted his Canadian passport, but the Investigative Committee said he had obtained it before 2014.

Russia’s Criminal Code envisions punishment of a fine or up to 400 hours of community work for hiding dual citizenship.

Mediazona focuses on news related to human rights, civil society, and the crackdown on dissent in Russia.

Verzilov, who is also a founding member of the protest music group Pussy Riot, has been sentenced to jail terms of between 10 and 20 days several times in recent years for taking part and organizing protest performances across the country.

In 2018, Verzilov drew worldwide attention when he and three other Pussy Riot activists ran onto a field during a World Cup soccer match in Moscow to protest police brutality.

They served 15 days in jail for the protest.

With reporting by Mediazona, TASS, and Interfax

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