Russia on Friday added two major Kremlin critics to its list of “foreign agents”: former chess champion Garry Kasparov and ex-businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
The infamous nomenclature, reminiscent of “enemies of the people” of the Soviet era, is widely used against dissidents, journalists and human rights activists accused of foreign-funded political activities.
These “foreign agents” are subject to many restrictions and arduous procedures under heavy penalties. In particular, they should indicate this situation in all their posts.
Russia’s Ministry of Justice, in its updated list on its website, said Khodorkovsky, 58, and Kasparov, 59, had “sources” in Ukraine to finance their activities.
Kasparov, a Soviet-born former world chess champion, is a longtime opponent of President Vladimir Putin and has lived in the United States for nearly a decade.
Khodorkovsky was one of Russia’s most powerful businessmen in the 1990s, before coming into conflict with the Kremlin when Putin took power in 2000.
He spent ten years, from 2003 to 2013, in prison and then went into exile.
For years, he helped fund the Russian Open Opposition Organization, which dissolved itself in May last year in the face of mounting repression.
Since the start of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine on February 24, dozens of members of the Russian intellectual elite and journalists have left the country, as authorities mount pressure on the latest voices and critical media.
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