The Russian government took a drastic step this week to further stifle dissent by adding prominent figures to its foreign agents registry. The Justice Ministry said Friday that Abbas Gallyamov, a former speechwriter for President Vladimir Putin, was added to the list for distributing materials created by foreign agents and speaking out against the special military operation in Ukraine.
The list also includes Zemfira Ramazanova, a popular singer who has publicly opposed Russia’s military actions in Ukraine and received foreign funds, and Dmitry Gudkov, an opposition politician who fled Russia in 2021.
The foreign agents registry is a controversial law that requires organizations and individuals who are determined to have received foreign funding to identify themselves as “foreign agents,” potentially undermining their credibility and stifling dissent.
Gallyamov, who wrote speeches for Putin during his 2008-12 stint as prime minister, is frequently quoted by foreign media. He recently attracted attention with an appearance on CNN in which he suggested Putin could face a military coup.
The addition of Gallyamov, Ramazanova, and Gudkov to the list is seen as a sign that the Kremlin is cracking down on dissent and attempting to silence those who oppose its policies. The move has been widely criticized by human rights groups, who argue that the law is a tool for the government to suppress free speech and target its critics.
The foreign agents registry has been widely condemned by the international community, with the United Nations Human Rights Council calling it “a form of censorship that has a chilling effect on freedom of expression.” The U.S. State Department has also expressed concern about the law, saying it “undermines the rights of individuals to express their views freely and openly, and is a threat to the free flow of information.”
The Russian government has defended the law, saying it is necessary to protect national security and prevent foreign interference in its internal affairs. However, critics argue that it is simply a way for the government to silence its opponents and suppress dissent.
The addition of Gallyamov, Ramazanova, and Gudkov to the foreign agents registry is just the latest example of the Kremlin’s efforts to stifle dissent and silence those who oppose its policies. The move has been widely condemned by human rights groups, who argue that the law is a tool for the government to suppress free speech and target its critics.