Thursday, May 30, 2024

Russia Lists Putin’s Ex-Speechwriter Wanted for Ukraine Issue


Abbas Gallyamov, a former speechwriter for Russian President Vladimir Putin during his tenure as prime minister from 2008 to 2012, has been placed on a wanted list by Russian police due to his comments on the war in Ukraine. The move is part of Moscow’s ongoing crackdown on dissent, which has seen many critics of the Kremlin targeted and silenced. Gallyamov, who has lived abroad in recent years, was added to Russia’s register of foreign agents last month, a designation that carries strong pejorative connotations aimed at undermining the recipient’s credibility.

The Interior Ministry’s database entry for Gallyamov did not specify the law he was accused of breaking, but stated that he was wanted “in relation to a Criminal Code article”. The move against him came after he gave an interview in which he predicted that an uprising in Russia was possible over its war against Ukraine, and reflected on his time as Putin’s speechwriter, saying few could have predicted “that Russia would turn into some kind of fascist state, as it is now”.

Gallyamov has described the move against him as part of the Russian government’s “intimidation strategy”. He believes that the charge against him is “the offence of discrediting the army”, which became a crime in Russia under a new law adopted after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022. Kremlin critics have been regularly charged under the law.

Gallyamov has not been contacted by any law enforcement agency and does not know what charge he faces in Russia. He told the Associated Press that the move against him is being used against anyone who refuses to amplify the Kremlin’s playbook and tries to conduct an objective, impartial analysis of what’s going on. He sees it as a message to others not to criticise or think that their independent view of what’s happening will remain unpunished.

Gallyamov, who later became an outspoken political consultant and analyst frequently quoted by Russian and foreign media, has lived abroad in recent years. The move against him is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Russian government to silence critics and stifle dissent. The designation of foreign agents is one such action, which brings additional government scrutiny and carries strong pejorative connotations aimed at undermining the recipient’s credibility.

The Russian government’s crackdown on dissent has intensified in recent years, with many critics of the Kremlin targeted and silenced. The move against Gallyamov is part of this wider trend, which has seen the government use a range of tactics to suppress opposition voices. These include the designation of foreign agents, the use of anti-extremism laws to target critics, and the imposition of fines and other penalties on independent media outlets.

The move against Gallyamov is likely to further erode trust in the Russian government and its commitment to democracy and human rights. It is also likely to have a chilling effect on free speech and independent analysis in Russia, as others fear they may be targeted for speaking out against the government’s policies. As such, it represents a significant threat to the health of Russian democracy and the rule of law.

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