Friends of Evan Gershkovich, the Bowdoin College graduate and Wall Street Journal reporter detained in Russia for the last five months, will gather at the school Sept. 26 to continue publicizing his fight for freedom.

Gershkovich, 31, was arrested in March while on a reporting trip in Yekaterinburg. Russian officials claimed he was spying for the U.S., which American officials and the Journal deny.

Russia US Detained Reporter

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court in Moscow, Russia, on June 22. Dmitry Serebryakov/Associated Press, file

Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Last month a Moscow court extended his detainment to at least November, and his upcoming trial could last a year, according to The Associated Press.

Gershkovich’s friends and fellow Bowdoin graduates and journalists Linda Kinstler and Nora Biette-Timmons organized a forum at the school Sept. 26 to continue to spotlight his struggle.

Kinstler said he was arrested “simply because he was doing his job.”

“We want to make sure that Evan comes home as soon as possible and want him to know that we are thinking about him and keeping his case front of mind,” she said.


American and Russian officials have said they are discussing a possible prisoner exchange involving Gershkovich.

The Bowdoin forum, which will be livestreamed, will feature Paul Beckett, the Journal’s Washington editor.

“What happened to Evan is indicative of the increasing risks faced by journalists around the world, and it’s critical we continue to highlight not only his case but also how this sort of assault on journalism ultimately impacts everyone,” Beckett said. “Press freedom is absolutely essential for a free society, and we’re grateful for all of Bowdoin’s support for Evan as well as the opportunity to bring this important discussion to campus.”

Gershkovich graduated from Bowdoin in 2014. He majored in philosophy and wrote occasionally for The Bowdoin Orient. His English professor, Brock Clarke, will also participate in the forum.

“I thought the world of Evan when he was a student, and I think the world of him as a journalist and a human being,” Clarke said.

“Having so many people come together from different parts of Evan’s life to plan this event was very important to us, and we are so grateful to everyone who’s helped make it happen,” Biette-Timmons said.


Bowdoin College highlighted Gershkovich at its graduation ceremony in June.

The son of Soviet émigrés, Gershkovich moved to Russia in 2017 to report for The Moscow Times. He was hired by The Wall Street Journal in 2022. When Russia invaded Ukraine, Gershkovich traveled to the Belarus-Ukraine border and was the only American reporter to witness the first wounded Russian forces being taken back home, according to the Journal.

In the days leading up to his arrest, Gershkovich was thinking about traveling to Nizhny Tagil, site of the Uralvagonzavod tank factory, Russian journalist Dmitry Kolezev told NBC News.

“He has this idea to interview some people on the streets nearby Russian military factories,” Kolezev told NBC. “He wanted to know what people think about the war.”

Kolezev also said Gershkovich was reporting on Russian citizens’ view of the Wagner Group.

Russia’s Federal Security Service said in a statement that Gershkovich was conducting “espionage in the interests of the American government” and that he was gathering “information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex,” according to The Associated Press.

A graphic of Bowdoin College alumnus Evan Gershkovich, who is jailed in Russia, was displayed during Bowdoin College’s graduation in May. Friends and colleagues have organized an event in support of Gershkovich at the college on Sept. 26. Jason Claffey/Times Record, file

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