On 20 July 2022, the presumed leader of private mercenary group Wagner Yevgeni Prigozhin deposited a request with the Russian Prosecutor General, asking to declare independent Russian media Meduza an “undesirable” organization. “Undesirable” organizations face a myriad of legal restrictions in Russia, and citizens found to collaborate with them face important fines.

In a letter sent by Konkord, a company owned by Prigozhin, Meduza is described as “one of [Russia’s] most harmful media”. Its actions allegedly make citizens question “the lawful actions of the Russian state apparatus” and “create provocations” to incite social hatred, change the country’s constitutional order and demoralize citizens and soldiers. This “negatively affects the state’s defence capacities”, claims Prigozhin via his company.

The letter’s author argues that if Meduza were declared an “undesirable” organization, its journalists could be brought to answer before the law. The text specifically mentions Meduza journalist Lilya Yapparova, who recently published an investigation into the deployment of Wagner mercenaries in the war in Ukraine. Following this publication, Prigozhin asked the Russian Investigative Committee to open a criminal case against her and Meduza’s head of publications Tatyana Yershova.

1 case
Europe: Russia
Verbal, online or physical attack: Verbal attack or intimidation by public (non online)