Sunday, June 16, 2024

Renowned Author Boris Akunin Labeled ‘Terrorist’ by Russian Government Amidst Ukraine Criticism.

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The Russian government has recently added Grigory Chkhartishvili, the renowned author recognized by his pen name Boris Akunin, to a register labeled “terrorists and extremists.” This move comes in response to Akunin’s outspoken criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Rosfinmonitoring, Russia’s primary financial intelligence body, officially announced Akunin’s inclusion in the registry on Monday.

Boris Akunin, a 67-year-old author residing in exile in London, is celebrated for his historical detective novels and has been a consistent critic of President Vladimir Putin. Reacting to his newfound designation, Akunin posted on Facebook, stating, “Terrorists declared me a terrorist.”

In a separate development, Russia’s Investigative Committee initiated legal proceedings against the Russian-Georgian author. The charges allege that Akunin has been “justifying terrorism and publicly spreading fake information” about the military.

Russia enacted a law criminalizing comments that disparage the armed forces following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Since then, the Kremlin has actively employed these powers to suppress dissent and silence critics.

On the day when Putin dispatched Russian troops into Ukraine, Akunin took to Facebook to describe the Russian leader as a “psychologically deranged dictator.” In a March 2022 interview with Al Jazeera, Akunin underscored that Putin had systematically eroded democratic institutions in Russia long before the invasion of Ukraine. He argued, “We see what it has brought us to eventually: Russia, Ukraine, and now the whole world is seriously discussing the possibility of nuclear war in the 21st century. This is all Putin’s doing.”

Recently, AST, one of Russia’s prominent publishing houses, declared that it would cease printing or selling works by Akunin and Dmitry Bykov, another author critical of the war in Ukraine. This decision followed the release of a prank call from the Russian duo Vovan and Lexus, who posed as Ukrainian officials while conversing with the two authors.

In the conversation, Bykov expressed sorrow over the deaths of Russian soldiers in the conflict but refrained from blaming Ukrainian officials for the tragedy. Akunin, on the other hand, characterized Russia as a global threat and expressed indifference towards Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian cities.

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