Husband Of Journalist Detained In Russia Refuses To Give Up

Aslu Kurmasheva is a journalist from Russia and the United States. Her fifteen-year-old daughter, Bibi Butorin, has been living alone since the spring of last year. Kurmasheva was taken into custody in Russia following a two-week detention while visiting her ailing grandmother in Kazan. She remained with her mother until October when police officials removed her.

Pavel Butorin is now a single parent to his two U.S.-citizen kids. Kurmasheva may spend up to five and ten years in jail, respectively, for failing to self-register as a foreign agent and spreading false information about the Russian army. Her pretrial release date has been pushed out to April 5.

An anthology of ordinary people’s resistance to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “Saying No to War,” includes Kurmasheva’s name as an editor. While her book contains no unlawful or inflammatory content, she is within her journalistic rights to gather and publish any ideas she sees fit.

The book, which expresses her views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is part of her case file. Her loved ones worry for her safety because of the Russian government’s history of dealing with dissent. It appears additional charges against her are mounting.

The Wall Street Journal’s reporter Evan Gershkovich is also being held in Russia on espionage allegations, but the organization’s president, Steve Capus, is dedicated to truthful reporting and has maintained constant communication with the Journal. The situation of Kurmasheva is “extremely worrying” since the number of journalist detentions has escalated since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The New York-based Committee has described this to Protect Journalists (CPJ) as “state-sponsored hostage-taking.”

While Kurmasheva has not been officially labeled as “wrongfully detained,” the United States has labeled Gershkovich as such. The State Department’s continued efforts to gain access to Kurmasheva are driven by its “deeply concerned” position over her detention.

Everything from billboards in Times Square to events at a restaurant in Prague is being done to bring more attention to Kurmasheva. Since Alsu’s incarceration, Pavel Butorin and his girls have put on a brave front, but they’re grieving.

Pavel avoids letting his emotions get in the way of his efforts to manage what he can. He will not rest until Alsu is home with her family.