March 31, 2023

Wall Street Journal Reporter, a 2010 PHS Grad, is Arrested in Russia, Accused of Espionage

By Donald Gilpin

Evan Gershkovich, a 31-year-old reporter for the Wall Street Journal and a 2010 graduate of Princeton High School (PHS), was arrested in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Wednesday and was accused, without evidence, by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) of spying for the U.S. government.

The Wall Street Journal strongly denied the FSB allegations and demanded Gershkovich’s immediate release. After his arrest in Yekaterinburg he was transferred to a Moscow court. He has been ordered to pretrial custody until May 29.

Gershkovich’s arrest, according to The Washington Post, was apparently the first arrest of a foreign journalist for spying in Russia since the end of the Cold War more than 30 years ago.

Princeton Public Schools, describing Gershkovich as “an active and engaged member of the community,” noted in a statement Thursday, “It has been a difficult morning for Princeton High School alumni, particularly the many PHS soccer players who were close to Mr. Gershkovich.”

PHS head soccer coach and physical education teacher Wayne Sutcliffe recalled, as quoted in the statement, “I knew Evan Gershkovich well. He was captain of the Princeton High School 2009 soccer team, which won the New Jersey State Championship. I have been fielding text messages all morning from our Princeton High School soccer alumni, all of whom are trying to find a way we can help to support Evan’s family.”

The statement goes on to say that Gershkovich “is remembered by his peers as being an outstanding student and an exceptional athlete during his time at Princeton High School.”

Gershkovich went on from PHS to Bowdoin College in Maine and graduated from there in 2014.  Fluent in Russian, having grown up speaking Russian at home with his bilingual parents, Gershkovich has been living in Russia and reporting on Russia since 2017, working for the Moscow Times and Agence France-Press before joining the Wall Street Journal in January 2022.

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) issued the following statement on Thursday: “The detention of Evan Gershkovich is outrageous and completely unacceptable. He must be safely and immediately returned to his family. I’m working with my colleagues in the New Jersey delegation and the Administration to ensure his immediate release.”