Russian police raided a student magazine’s editorial office on Wednesday and detained four of its journalists on criminal charges of encouraging minors to take part in anti-Kremlin protests, the outlet said.
The independent DOXA outlet set up by students and university graduates in 2017 in Moscow said police had taken detainees for questioning and seized equipment including phones, and that a court would rule later on pre-trial restrictions.
The detentions come amid a crackdown on allies of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny whose arrest and jailing earlier this year sparked several nationwide protests that police said were illegal and broke up using force.
DOXA, which was set up as a student organisation at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, covers student life, higher education, politics and science, reports Reuters.
Authorities revoked its formal status as a student organisation in 2019 after it voiced support for students who had taken part in opposition protests in 2019 and been fined.
In a statement on Wednesday, DOXA said its journalists had been detained over a video clip in which the outlet said it was illegal for universities to expel students for taking part in pro-Navalny protests earlier this year.
DOXA said they had taken down the video at the request of the state media watchdog, though they disagreed with the demand.
There was no immediate comment from the local police.
“The pressure that the journalistic community has encountered recently is unprecedented, but we are not stopping our activity. We will continue to cover what is important for young people and continue to defend their rights,” DOXA said.
A lawyer for OVD-Info, a protest monitor and rights group, said the charges related to the same criminal case opened against Leonid Volkov, a close Navalny ally who is outside Russia.