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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Russia calls Pussy Riot member ‘foreign agent’ after human rights group closes

MOSCOW — Russian authorities on Thursday designated the Pussy Riot member, satirist and art collector as “foreign agents” in an effort to crack down on dissent.

The Ministry of Justice labeled Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of Pussy Riot who gained notoriety for participating in a 2012 protest at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, after which she spent almost two years in prison.

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Journalist and satirist Viktor Shenderovich and art collector Marat Guelman also received the label, along with several other people.

The label “foreign agent” suggests additional government scrutiny and carries a strong pejorative connotation that can discredit recipients. The Russian authorities have given this status to a host of media outlets, civil society groups and individuals, increasing pressure on those who criticize the Kremlin.

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Individuals designated as “foreign agents” must add a lengthy statement to news reports, social media posts, and other content stating that the content was created by a “foreign agent”.

Earlier this week, a Russian court on Tuesday shut down the country’s oldest and best-known human rights group, Memorial, citing it for not identifying itself as a “foreign agent.”

Tolokonnikova tweeted that she would not comply with the requirement to tag her posts as “foreign agent”. She stated that she would challenge the government’s decision in court, concluding: “Russia will be free.”

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