Russia labels Pussy Riot member, others as ′foreign agents′ | News | D…

Authorities in Russia have designated several dissidents, including a Pussy Riot punk group member, an art collector and a popular satirist, as “foreign agents” on Thursday.

The decision comes days after the country’s most noticeable human rights group was shuttered.

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been seen as a popular figure of dissent after she took part in a 2012 protest inside Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. She spent nearly two years in prison. 

Tolokonnikova is also one of the founders of independent news outlet Mediazona. The organization was labeled a “foreign agent” in late September.

Tolokonnikova said she would challenge Thursday’s decision in court, adding: “Russia will be free.”

‘Foreign agent’ list grows

The Justice Ministry also slapped the label on journalist and satirist Viktor Shenderovich, best known for a political caricature puppet show aired in the 1990s. 

Political satirist Victor Shenderovich was additional to the list

Art collector Marat Gelman and five others also found their names on the list, which has grown from 17 in late 2020 to its current number: 111.

The “foreign agent” label, which carries negative Soviet-era connotations, subjects people and organizations to government scrutiny. In addition to strict financial reporting requirements, each time they publish something, they have to post a disclaimer stating that they are “foreign agents.”

Art collector Marat Gelman will need to preface his posts with a “foreign agent” label

Steps toward stifling dissent

Critics say Russian authorities use the label to ramp up pressure on several media outlets, civil society groups and individuals who are basic of the Kremlin.

Days earlier, a Russian court shut the country’s oldest and most noticeable human rights group, called the Memorial Human Rights Center. It was ordered to close for not marking all of its publications with a “foreign agent” label.

The government says these steps are aimed at thwarting extremism and shielding the country from foreign influences.

see/fb (AP, Reuters)



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