Russia declares popular rapper and writer ‘foreign agents’

Oxxxymiron added to an updated list alongside four journalists and Dmitry Glukhovsky, a prominent writer

The Russian justice ministry has declared one of the country’s most popular rappers to be a “foreign agent”, a legal designation that has been used to hound Kremlin critics and journalists.

Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, was added to an updated list of foreign agents alongside four journalists and Dmitry Glukhovsky, a prominent writer.

The rapper has called the Kremlin’s Ukraine offensive a “catastrophe and a crime”. He cancelled a scheduled Russian tour in protest at the invasion, subsequently left Russia and gave a series of concerts in Turkey, Britain and Germany entitled “Russians Against The War”.

In late August, authorities said they were investigating his work under the country’s anti-extremism laws. Under Russian law, material designated “extremist” is effectively prohibited.

The term “foreign agent” subjects those listed to stringent financial reporting requirements. It also obliges them to preface anything they publish with a disclaimer stating they are foreign agents.

Oxxxymiron, whose lyrics are strongly political and who attended rallies backing jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, was one of Russia’s prominent rappers before the war, enjoying wide popularity in a country where hip-hop is a popular genre.

In January, Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov praised his work in an interview as “astonishing in its depth”.

Popular Russian science fiction writer Glukhovsky – who also denounced the offensive and was put on a wanted list for “discrediting” the Russian army – was also labelled a “foreign agent”.

The author of a 2002 post-apocalyptic fiction novel, “Metro 2033”, was put on the list after a Russian court ordered his arrest in absentia for his criticism of the offensive.

Feminist politician Alena Popova – who has long campaigned for domestic violence legislation in Russia – and a journalist for Radio Free Europe/Liberty, Irina Storozheva, were also added to the foreign agent list.

Staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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