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Former Russian PM branded ‘foreign agent’

Mikhail Kasyanov has been active in trying to discredit the Russian government and spread lies about it, Justice Ministry says

A former Prime Minister of Russia, Mikhail Kasyanov, was added to the country’s list of “foreign agents” on Friday, becoming the most senior ex-official to ever receive the designation.

The move was announced by the Russian Justice Ministry, which pointed out that Kasyanov has been actively “taking part in the creation and distribution” of materials by other “foreign agents” and false information aimed at tarnishing Russian authorities. The ex-PM also actively opposed Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, being actively involved with public platforms set up by foreign structures, the ministry noted.

Specifically, Kasyanov has been participating, along with other “foreign agents,” in the activation of the so-called ‘Anti-War Committee of Russia,’ an expat organization created days after ongoing hostilities turned to open fighting in February 2022. The true goal of the group was “discrediting Russia’s external and internal policies,” the ministry said. Kasyanov himself left Russia in June 2022, residing abroad since then.

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He promptly reacted to the designation, taking to social media platform X to claim his “foreign agent” label stemmed solely from his anti-war position.

“The authorities’ report indicates that politician and former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov was included in the register for speaking out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and membership in the Russian Anti-War Committee. Yes, that’s true,” Kasyanov wrote.

Now 65, he led Russia’s government between 2000 and 2004, going into opposition to the country’s authorities shortly after the end of his tenure and remaining there ever since. Between 2015 and early 2023, he led the liberal-democratic Party of People’s Freedom, or PARNAS.

The party, planting its roots in one of the first opposition forces created in the final years of the USSR, was dissolved by Russia’s Supreme Court this May over various infractions, including claims filed against it by the Justice Ministry and the taxation authority.

November 26, 2023 at 02:55AM

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