Writer Keith Gessen was reportedly detained (and released -Update) by a 15-person Russian special forces unit after investigating election tampering in Sochi, a Black Sea resort city hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The novelist, recently based in New York, has been filing dispatches from Russia for the New Yorker, and may have been working on a story at the time.

Reports Russia!:

Gessen was researching a claim by one of the candidates of tempering with the voting ballots.

Gazeta.ru reports that the officials in charge of the election refused to take the reporter's questions and called the police instead.

Gessen is Russian by birth, but the "OMON" special forces unit confirmed he had an American passport before taking him away. One hopes this offers the writer a measure of protection against the brutal treatment Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin's authoritarian regime has accorded Russian journalists.


UPDATE: Gessen has been released. Russia! quotes his friend: ""I just talked to him and he's fine. He was like "yeah I got arrested no big deal.'"

No big deal, Russian special forces squad, whatever. Pass the vodka.

So nonchalant/seen-it-all/I-eat-Spetsnaz-for-breakfast, these Russian literary types. (No doubt, we're glad to be able to say so. Godspeed, Keith.)