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Russia Seeks Arrests of 2 Animators, Ex-Lawmaker Gudkov

Dmitry Gudkov. Sergei Vedyashkin / Moskva News Agency

Russian authorities have issued arrest warrants for two popular animators and exiled opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov, the independent news website Mediazona reported Tuesday.

The Russian Interior Ministry’s wanted persons database lists Gudkov, who served in Russia’s lower-house State Duma from 2011-16, alongside cartoonists Oleg Kuvayev and Pavel Muntyan.

Kuvayev is the creator of the long-running flash-animated series “Masyanya,” whose latest season is highly critical of Russia’s 22-month invasion of Ukraine.

Russian authorities blocked the website that hosts Masyanya in the .ru domain one month into the invasion.

In October 2023, Kuvayev was reportedly charged with “public calls for actions aimed against state security” in connection with a “Masyanya” episode that urged Russian soldiers to turn themselves in to the Ukrainian military. 

Kuvayev, who lives in Israel, was declared a “foreign agent” last Friday.

Muntyan is the creator of another popular Russian web series “Mr. Freeman,” whose title character appeared in the music video for a 2023 anti-war song by veteran rapper Legalize.

Russian authorities have since blocked the music video — titled “Mir!! Vashemu!! Domu!!” (Peace to Your House) — inside the country.

Media outlets with links to Russia’s security services have reported that Muntyan was charged with spreading “fake news” about the Russian military in an April 2022 social media post. Muntyan was labeled a “foreign agent” in April 2023.

Russia’s Interior Ministry does not publish the specific criminal cases linked to its arrest warrants.

Gudkov disclosed in October that he had been charged with spreading “fake news” about the Russian military after discussing the military’s killings of Ukrainian civilians in an April 2022 YouTube video.

“A formal arrest warrant doesn’t change anything for me,” Gudkov said in response to Tuesday’s Interior Ministry notice.

“I have long been well aware that for me, the world is now limited to Europe, the U.S. and Canada,” Gudkov said.

Gudkov, 43, left Russia for Ukraine in 2021 after being detained — then suddenly released — under what he called a “fake” criminal case against him. He faced up to five years in prison over unpaid rent from 2015.

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