Russia adds rapper to ‘foreign agents’ list

The Russian government has designated a popular rapper a “foreign agent,” a label that has been used as part of authorities’ efforts to silence critical voices.

Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fiodorov, was added to the Justice Ministry’s list of “foreign agents” along with Dimitri Glukhovsky, a science-fiction writer, and Aliona Popova, a prominent feminist who was the face of the campaign against domestic violence in Russia.

Oxxxymiron, who has dual Russian and British citizenship, has called the Russian invasion of Ukraine “a catastrophe” and has publicly called for the creation of an anti-war movement. The rapper canceled a tour of Russia shortly after Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24 and organized charity concerts in Western Europe and Turkey to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees.

In August, authorities announced they were investigating the rapper’s work under anti-extremism laws, which have been expanded several times to cover a wide spectrum of expressions of dissent.

Russian law allows organizations and individuals deemed to be involved in certain political activity that receive funding from abroad to be declared foreign agents. The term carries a strong pejorative tone and implies increased scrutiny by the government.

The rapper, whose lyrics are often political, has previously participated in marches in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Glukhovsky, author of the 2002 post-apocalyptic novel “Metro 2033” and believed to be abroad, has also criticized Russia’s war in Ukraine. He was placed on a wanted list in connection with his social media posts and columns in the Western press.

In June, a Moscow court ordered his arrest in absentia on charges of “discrediting the Russian military” amid an unprecedented crackdown on dissidents. If he is found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Popova, one of Russia’s most vocal human rights activists, has struggled for days to pressure Russian lawmakers to adopt laws protecting women from domestic abuse. Her social media campaign encouraged Russian women to post images of themselves with makeup similar to cuts and bruises, along with the hashtag “I didn’t want to die.” The viral response sparked discussions about attitudes in the country towards victims of abuse.

In 2021, she was a candidate for Parliament and has expressed many times her support for women’s candidacies for political positions to deal with the country’s social problems.

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