Russia on Monday placed the writer Boris Akunin, who has spoken out against Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine from exile, on its list of individuals identified as terrorists or extremists.
Since the Kremlin ordered Russian troops to march on Kyiv on February 24 last year, a crackdown on dissent has hit the arts, with books of authors critical of Moscow disappearing from bookshops in the country.
Boris Akunin is the pen name of Georgian-born writer Grigory Chkhartishvili. The 67-year-old is known for his historical detective novels and his longstanding criticism of President Vladimir Putin.
His name has been listed on the “terrorist and extremists” list of the Rosfinmonitoring, Russia’s main financial intelligence body.
“Terrorists declared me a terrorist,” Boris Akunin, who lives in London, wrote on Facebook.
Russia’s Investigative Committee meanwhile announced it had opened a criminal probe into Boris Akunin for allegedly “justifying terrorism and publicly spreading fake information” on the Russian army.
“Russia is ruled by a psychologically deranged dictator and worst of all, it obediently follows his paranoia,” Boris Akunin wrote on Facebook the day Putin sent troops to Ukraine in February 2022..
The terrorist label comes after one of Russia’s main publishing houses, AST, announced last week that it would no longer distribute books by Boris Akunin because of his “public statements”.
Despite falling out with the Kremlin, Boris 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.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)