On the evening of April 13, 2022, as he was exiting the “New Focus ”editorial office, Mikhail was captured
by an OMON squad (the special purpose police units within the National Guard of Russia). On the same day, the Federal Security Service officers searched the Afanasyev’s home; they seized all of their technical equipment and money. According to Elena Afanasyeva, the journalist’s wife, the law enforcement officers even took away the laptop that belonged to their 10-year-old daughter. A couple of days later, the court sent Mikhail to a detention center for 2 months. His family was not allowed in the courtroom.
What triggered the criminal investigation was Mr. Afanasyev’s article about National Guard soldiers from Khakassia, who had returned from Ukraine and refused to continue to participate in the “special operation”. According to the investigation
, while writing about the National Guard OMON members, Mikhail “provided unreliable information on how many had been killed or gone missing”. On the basis of this text, the journalist was charged
under article 207.3, part 2, sub-paragraph a
: “dissemination of false information using official powers”.