The Wall Street Journal reporter who was jailed in Russia on suspicion of espionage has sent a handwritten letter home to his parents — the first direct communication he has had with them since his arrest, more than two weeks ago.
The letter, dated April 5, was written in Russian, the Wall Street Journal reports, the language he grew up speaking at home with his parents, both Soviet émigrés, and expressed both hope and humor.
“I want to say that I am not losing hope,” Evan Gershkovich wrote. “I read. I exercise. And I am trying to write. Maybe, finally, I am going to write something good.”
As BizPac Review reported, the journalist had been covering Russia’s politics for the last six years when he was arrested — marking the first time an American journalist has been detained by Moscow on spying accusations since the Cold War.
Journo booted from Russia sounds the alarm over detained WSJ reporter: The situation is ‘pretty grim’ https://t.co/SqgQjM96mZ pic.twitter.com/kRT2lUhtmI
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 10, 2023
The Wall Street Journal and its journalists quickly rallied to challenge the allegations, stating that Evan Gershkovich is not a spy.
The letter to his home to Philadelphia was addressed to the reporter’s “dear family” — his mother, Ella Milman; his father, Mikhail; and his sister, Danielle, known by the nickname, “Duscia.”
In what was likely an attempt to lift Ella’s spirits, Evan teased her about her cooking.
“Mom, you unfortunately, for better or worse, prepared me well for jail food,” he wrote. “In the morning, for breakfast, they give us hot creamed wheat, oatmeal cereal or wheat gruel. I am remembering my childhood.”
Evan confirmed that he had received a care package full of toiletries, slippers, clothes, and pens. It would help to make him a bit more comfortable while he awaits his fate in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, a notorious facility ran by the KGB’s successor, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
“Lefortovo traditionally has held high-profile inmates including Soviet author Alexander Solzhenitsyn, several 1991 coup plotters against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who has been held since 2018,” WSJ reports.
“I now have more clothes and stuff than mom and dad at home, I think,” Evan wrote his family.
For having to endure the emotional toll of his arrest, Evan said his family would likely want to smack him.
“Don’t worry,” he wrote. “You will have your chance to do it.”
The letter was signed with Evan’s family nickname.
“Until we meet soon,” he wrote. “Write me. -Vanya.”
While Evan remains hopeful, David Satter, a former Moscow-based journalist who has since been expelled, say’s he is being denied “due process” in Russia.
“He’s not being given due process,” Satter said, according to BizPac Review. “And in fact, under the law in Russia, they don’t have to – he’s forbidden from revealing the details of the accusation against him.”
He will reportedly be able to appeal the charges on April 18.
Gershkovich’s parents recently sat down with the Wall Street Journal for a video interview.
The letter brought Ella “great joy,” because it brought a firsthand account of her son’s state of mind.
“These are my son’s words, not someone else telling me,” she said. “And his spirit is shining.”