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London Times, Sept. 28, 2018
Roman Dobrokhotov, journalist behind Salisbury poisoning exposé, expects Moscow arrest
By Ben Macintyre

After a journalistic tour de force, Roman Dobrokhotov returns to Russia today to face a deeply uncertain future.

To Putin opponents he and his website, The Insider, and its partner, Bellingcat, are heroes for exposing the Salisbury poisoners. To Russia's rulers they are state enemies. Mr Dobrokhotov may be arrested. He may be left alone. He will certainly be watched. He is unlikely to be killed, but in the old Russian saying, "nothing is true and everything is possible".

These investigators are the antidotes to fake news, forging clarity in the face of a regime that relies on obfuscation.

The slight, muscular, T-shirted Mr Dobrokhotov, 35, gives off no whiff of martyrdom. Instead, speaking to The Times yesterday at a London hotel, he exuded wry insouciance. "I don't know of an example when Putin ordered the murder of a journalist. At least you can say that for him."

However, in modern Russia, campaigning journalists do get killed. What might "they" do to him when he gets home? They could confiscate his passport, detain him or issue a bond that ensures he cannot leave. "They could cause legal problems, or freeze my bank account," he says. They could confiscate his home computer, if that has not happened already.

Friends and family have pleaded with him not to return. "He's been extremely brave to the point of recklessness. He should stay away, at least for a while," says the Bellingcat investigator who goes by the pseudonym Moritz Rakuszitzky.

Mr Dobrokhotov shrugs. He believes exposing the truth about Putin's Russia is the way to defeat it. "Bacteria does not survive in the sunlight," he adds.
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