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Brand ME a foreign agent: famous Russian singer Pugacheva

Alla Pugacheva decided to ask the Russian Ministry of Justice to brand her a “foreign agent” in an act of solidarity with her husband, Maxim Galkin, who was slapped with the label for his criticism of the regime.

One of Russia’s most beloved pop singers, Alla Pugacheva, who has been active since the mid-1960s and whose fame rose over the subsequent decades, made an appeal to the Russian Ministry of Justice asking to be branded a “foreign agent”. The appeal was posted on Instagram and is an act of Pugacheva’s solidarity with her husband, comedian Maxim Galkin, who was branded a “foreign agent” on September 16.

In 2012, Russia passed a law forcing anyone who engages in “political activity” and receives (or whom the regime accuses of receiving) any foreign funding to identify themselves as a “foreign agent”. Failure to do so may result in prosecution. The law is effectively used to judicially persecute political dissidents critical of Putin’s regime and other trouble-makers, such as human rights groups and watchdog organisations.

“Please include me in the ranks of foreign agents of my beloved country,” reads Pugacheva’s message, “since I am in solidarity with my husband – an honest, decent and sincere man, a true and incorruptible patriot of Russia who wants his Homeland to flourish in peace, with freedom of speech, and wants an end to our boys dying for illusory goals, which has turned our country into a pariah state and made life a burden for our citizens.”

After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Pugacheva, Galkin and their children left for Israel and then travelled through Europe, including Jūrmala in Latvia (their summer holiday destination), where Galkin toured with his stand-up comedy show and was highly critical of the war and Russian leadership.

Pugacheva herself, until now, has refrained from making overtly political statements, although in August, after returning to Russia, Kremlin-controlled media outlets quoted her saying that came back “to put things in order, in my head and in your head”.

The Ministry of Justice announced that Galkin engaged in “political activity” and received money from Ukraine in retaliation for his criticism of the regime, and any restraint Pugacheva has had when it comes to criticising the regime is obviously gone now, that her family has been targeted.

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