Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Renowned Russian Writer Boris Akunin Labeled ‘Foreign Agent’

Boris Akunin. Mitya Aleshkovsky / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED)

Russia on Friday labeled the exiled writer Boris Akunin, who has spoken out against Moscow's military operation in Ukraine, as a foreign agent.

The Kremlin has intensified its crackdown on dissent since launching its offensive in Ukraine in February 2022 and targeted the arts, with books by authors critical of Moscow disappearing from bookshops.

Akunin is the pen name of Georgian-born writer Grigory Chkhartishvili. That name was added to the "foreign agents" list, traditionally updated every Friday.

"Chkhartishvili opposed the special military operation in Ukraine," Russia's Justice Ministry said.

He is also accused of having "disseminated inaccurate information aimed at forming a negative image" of Russia and its army.

The label, which is reminiscent of the term "enemies of the people" of the Soviet era, requires individuals or groups to disclose sources of funding.

It also compels them to mark all publications — including social media posts — with a "foreign agent" tag.

The 67-year-old was already listed on the "terrorist and extremists" list of Rosfinmonitoring, Russia's main financial intelligence body.

Akunin is known for his historical detective novels and his longstanding criticism of President Vladimir Putin.

"Russia is ruled by a psychologically deranged dictator and worst of all, it obediently follows his paranoia," Akunin wrote on Facebook the day Putin sent troops to Ukraine in February 2022.

Despite falling out with the Kremlin, Akunin remains one of Russia's most widely read contemporary authors.

He also co-founded a campaign platform called "True Russia" that gathers Russian cultural figures to help Ukrainian refugees and Russians who fled their country.

Many Russian cultural figures have fled the country since the Kremlin's military operation in Ukraine began, with those who stayed facing strict censorship laws.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more