Russia puts ex-Putin speechwriter on foreign agents list

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Friday added a former speechwriter for President Vladimir Putin to its register of foreign agents, along with one of the country’s most popular singers and a prominent opposition politician who has fled abroad.

Russian law 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.

The Justice Ministry said Abbas Gallyamov “distributed materials created by foreign agents to an unlimited circle of people, spoke out against the special military operation in Ukraine, (and) participated as an expert and respondent on information platforms provided by foreign structures.”

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 ministry said it also put pop star Zemfira Ramazanova, who performs using only her first name, on the list. She had publicly opposed Russia’s military actions in Ukraine and received unspecified foreign funds, the ministry said.

Dmitry Gudkov, who was a well-known opposition politician before fleeing Russia in 2021, was also designated a foreign agent.

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