Report Wire - Kremlin critic flees Russia after being tagged as ‘foreign agent’

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Kremlin critic flees Russia after being tagged as ‘foreign agent’

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Russian political satirist and Kremlin critic, Viktor Shenderovich mentioned on Tuesday that he had left Russia fearing {that a} felony case for slander could be opened in opposition to him after authorities designated him as a “foreign agent”.
The 63-year outdated didn’t say the place he had gone and was not instantly reachable. A slew of Russians have fled previously 12 months, together with supporters of jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny and several other journalists.
“(My) departure is exactly what the Kremlin has been hinting I do over the last 20 years of endless and demonstrative criminality directed at me,” Shenderovich wrote on Facebook.
The Kremlin mentioned it regarded as if Shenderovich was making an attempt to cover from his opponents after making feedback that had been being challenged in court docket. It mentioned his departure had nothing to do with him being labelled a “foreign agent”.
Shenderovich had the tag imposed on him by the Justice Ministry final month in a mounting crackdown on opposition figures.
The label has unfavourable Soviet-era connotations and its bearers have to position it prominently on all content material that they publish. They additionally face arduous monetary and bureaucratic necessities.
Authorities say the designation, and one other for “undesirable organisations”, are wanted to protect the nation from malign international affect.
Shenderovich, often known as a journalist, has been at odds with the authorities for years.
His outdated “Puppets” satirical present on nationwide tv lampooned politicians together with President Vladimir Putin who had simply come to energy on the flip of the century. The present was taken off air in 2002.
Shenderovich’s biting criticism of the state of Russian politics was ultimately solely heard on a handful of shops like Moscow’s liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy or on the TV Rain on-line information channel.
Announcing his departure, he mentioned he had confronted surveillance, slander, invasions of his privateness and even dying threats over time.
He was sued final 12 months by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman accused by the United States of election meddling and of spreading malign affect world wide, one thing he denies. Shenderovich was ordered to pay out 100,000 roubles ($1,330) for feedback he made on Ekho Moskvy.
On Dec. 30, Prigozhin’s firm Konkord mentioned it was pursuing felony motion and that Shenderovich may resist 5 years in jail.