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BBC Names Russian Pop Star, Jailed Anti-War Artist, Journalist to Influential Women List

Alexandra Skochilenko, Alla Pugacheva and Taisia Bekbulatova.

The BBC has named Russian pop diva Alla Pugacheva, jailed anti-war activist Alexandra Skochilenko and prominent journalist Taisia Bekbulatova on its list of the year's most influential women.

The Russian entries in the 2022 edition of the annual 100 Women list of inspiring and influential women highlight the “female faces of conflict and resistance in Ukraine and Russia,” the BBC said.

Widely beloved in Russia and former Soviet countries, Pugacheva, 73, is among the most prominent cultural figures to have spoken out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Pugacheva publicly came out against the war in September after Russian authorities labeled her husband, comedian Maxim Galkin, a “foreign agent.” Fans were split by her stance, with some praising her and others accusing her of treason.

She and her family had fled to Israel soon after the start of the invasion in February.

The BBC highlighted Bekbulatova for her coverage of inequality, violence and women’s rights at the independent Holod news outlet, which she founded in 2019 after several years at the Kommersant business daily and the independent Meduza news website.

Bekbulatova fled Russia after being labeled a “foreign agent” last year and has reported on the war in Ukraine from the front line herself.

Russian authorities blocked Holod’s website in April over accusations of “discrediting” the Russian military’s actions in Ukraine.

Skochilenko, 32, is an artist and musician who was arrested for replacing supermarket price tags with anti-war messages in St. Petersburg this spring.

Skochilenko faces up to 10 years in prison on charges of spreading “fake news” about Russia’s war in Ukraine. Her girlfriend has raised concerns about Skochilenko’s health, bullying and “unsanitary” conditions in pre-trial detention.

Russia has criminalized the spread of information about its invasion of Ukraine that does not come from state sources that reflect Russia’s version of events.

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