Russia: Kremlin Declares Two Pussy Riot Members Foreign Agents | International


Nadia Tolokonníkova, member of the Pussy Riot, in April 2019 in Buenos Aires.
Nadia Tolokonníkova, member of the Pussy Riot, in April 2019 in Buenos Aires.AGUSTIN MARCARIAN (REUTERS)

Eight new names on the list of foreign agents of the Russian Government. The Ministry of Justice has included this Thursday in this blacklist three journalists, two members of the Pussy Riot, a gallery owner, a founder of a film club and the opposition writer Víktor Senderóvich, one of the first people to experience a clash with the Kremlin after the arrival of Vladimir Putin to power with the turn of the century. All this in the same week that the justice has liquidated two NGOs with more than 30 years of history, Memorial and its human rights subsidiary, for not showing in each and every one of their publications, from brochures to Instagram messages, that they were also foreign agents.

Víktor Senderóvich was one of the main architects of the winks in Russia, and just two months ago he told EL PAÍS the problems of the opponents in recent years: “First (they censored) television, then radio, then Internet (.. .) Today no one dares to rent me an apartment. We have lived in an atmosphere of fear since 2014, when they completely seized power after the annexation of Crimea. ” From now on, being listed as a foreign agent will not only impose a series of obligations on you, such as highlighting this condition in any publication and having to notify the authorities until the last ruble that you enter or spend, but it will also prevent you from applying for any position public.

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Senderóvich launched the Russian version of the Canal + wink show on private television NTV in the 1990s. However, he quit in 2001 after being sued for caricaturing Putin himself. At the same time, the channel was acquired by the state gas monopoly, Gazprom, after the owner of the chain, opponent Vladimir Gusinski, was arrested for alleged tax evasion.

The government has also listed two members of the Pussy Riot collective, Verónika Nikúlshina and Nadia Tolokonníkova. “Not obeying the law supposes the opening of a criminal case, and we are not going to obey it,” the group responded on Twitter along with a symbol of a clown. “Ten members of Pussy Riot have had to leave Russia because of constant attacks, arrests and threats. They have been forced to leave the country they love and find a temporary home elsewhere, away from their families and friends. I hate that Putin gets away with ruining people’s lives, “added the official profile.

Tolokonníkova is one of the collective’s founders and was sentenced to jail for an act of protest in 2012 inside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow in which they criticized the Orthodox Church’s support for Putin.

They have also been added this Thursday to this blacklist the owner of an art gallery, Marat Gelman; the founder of a film club in the city of Yaroslavl, Andrei Alekséyev, and the editor of the independent medium Jolod News, Taisiya Bekbulatova. The latter was arrested and her apartment was searched in June 2020 on suspicion of having some connection with former Defense journalist Iván Safronov, currently on trial for allegedly exchanging information with third countries.

“These people systematically distribute material to an indefinite circle of people while receiving foreign funds,” the Russian Justice Ministry said in a statement. For his part, Putin defended this law in his traditional annual press conference, in which he said that this legislation was invented by the West in the 1930s and assured that the Russian version “is more liberal” than those of Europe and North America.

In total, more than a hundred individuals and entities are on the list of foreign agents of the Russian Government. This same week, the International Memorial Foundation, which guarded the memory of Soviet crimes, and its subsidiary Memorial Human Rights Center, which investigated crimes in modern Russia, especially in Chechnya and others, were liquidated in separate trials for breaking the law. Caucasus regions.

In addition, a BBC investigative journalist, Andrei Zakharov, left the country on Monday just two months after being cataloged with the same label. The reporter, who published investigations related to an alleged daughter of Putin or the protection of gangs of hackers in Russia, he reported that he was being watched.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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