Former Kommersant journalist and former advisor to the head of Roscosmos Ivan Safronov has been sentenced to 22 years in a maximum-security penal colony for “passing classified information” about the Russian Armed Forces.
According to the indictment published by Proekt in August, Safronov's case is based solely on conjecture: none of the “witnesses” know anything about the journalist's “crimes.” And almost all the information which he allegedly passed on and which is considered a “state secret,” is in the public domain.
Safronov was arrested in early July 2020. The FSB believes that in 2017, he allegedly passed classified data to a Czech intelligence agency that worked under the direction of the United States. The data was related to Russia's military and technical cooperation in Africa and the actions of the Armed Forces in the Middle East.
According to the investigation, Safronov allegedly obtained the classified information from officials who had access to it. Proekt notes, however, that the testimony of six government officials contained in the case file does not corroborate this version: none of them admitted to passing any classified information to the journalist. Only the former head of the United Rocket and Space Corporation, Yuri Vlasov, suggested that Safronov might have visited his office and “might have seen some documents” on his desk. He did not provide any evidence.
Perviy Otdel reported that the court refused to adduce Proekt's investigation and the documents relating to the interrogation of the witnesses who confirmed Safronov's innocence.
During a break in the August 30 hearing, the prosecutor Elvira Zotchik suggested that Safronov plead guilty in exchange for a term of 12 years in prison. The journalist rejected the deal.