Russian journalist David Frenkel of the independent online media outlet Mediazona said yesterday he was refused entry at the Georgian border following a 14-hour-long wait.
Frenkel said during the wait the Georgian border service authorities “were making calls somewhere, shrugged their shoulders, and sometimes even apologized that they themselves did not know [whether to allow entry] and were waiting for an answer from higher-up.”
“Ultimately, rejection,” he recalled, adding “They did not feed [me], but out of pity let me [sit] on the sofa.”
“I like it that the Georgian authorities say the border guards make the refusals on the spot,” the journalist remarked.
Frenkel’s wife, who had accompanied him, Varya Mikhailova said in a Facebook post that several journalists from independent Russian media outlets who “with incredible risks are now writing the truth about the war [in Ukraine], have gotten similar refusals.”
David Frenkel is an award-winning reporter and photojournalist, focusing on human rights, judiciary and policy brutality. He won the 2021 European Press Prize award with “Brutalised Minsk: how Belarusian police beat protesters.”
In 2020 he was reportedly assaulted by Russian police in Saint Petersburg while covering the constitutional referendum at one of the polling stations. He suffered a broken arm.
The refusal of David Frenkel’s entry comes a few days after another Russian journalist, anchor of now-suspended independent TV Dozhd received a similar rejection.
The Interior Ministry has not issued public comments on Frenkel’s case. As for Fishman, Interior Minister Vakhtgan Gomelauri said on March 10 he did not exactly know the reason for the refusal.
“We refused entry to many people, to more than 100. One of them was probably [Fishman], I do not know,” he added.
Besides the journalists, in the previous months, Georgia has refused to allow several Russian opposition politicians inside the country, including Lyubov Sobol, a key ally of jailed Alexei Navalny.
- TV Dozhd Journalist Allegedly Denied Georgia Entry
- Russian Opposition Leader Barred from Entering Georgia
- Key Navalny Ally Was Refused Entry to Georgia -Report
NB: This piece was updated at 12:36 on March 17. The initial article incorrectly stated that David Frenkel is a journalist of online media outlet Meduza. We apologize for the mistake.