Russia puts ex-Putin speechwriter on Ukraine’s wanted list | News of the war between Russia and Ukraine

Abbas Galliamov wrote speeches for Vladimir Putin during the Russian leader’s tenure as prime minister between 2008 and 2012.

Police in Russia have placed a former speechwriter for President Vladimir Putin on wanted list of criminal suspects over his comments on the war in Ukraine, the latest step in Moscow’s sweeping crackdown on dissent.

Abbas Galliamov wrote letters to Putin during the Russian leader’s tenure as prime minister from 2008-2012. Galliamov, 50, later became an outspoken political consultant and analyst who was frequently quoted by Russian and foreign media. Lived abroad in recent years.

On Friday, Russian and international media discovered Galliamov’s inclusion in the Interior Ministry’s database. The entry stated that he was wanted “on the basis of an article of the penal code,” but it did not include the law he was accused of violating.

Russia’s Justice Ministry last month added Galliamov to its registry of foreign agents, a designation that brings greater government scrutiny and carries strong connotations of pejorative intended to undermine the recipient’s credibility.

Galliamov, the ministry said, “distributed materials created by foreign agents to an unlimited circle of people, spoke out against the special military operation in Ukraine, (and) participated as an expert and respondent on information platforms provided by foreign structures.”

Galliamov had recently given an interview in which he predicted the possibility of an uprising in Russia over its war with Ukraine, and reflected on his time as Putin’s speechwriter, saying that few could have predicted that “Russia will turn into a kind of fascist state, as it is now.”

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Galliamov told The Associated Press on Friday that he learned he was on the media’s wanted list. No law enforcement agency has been in touch, so he doesn’t know what charge he faces in Russia.

“I assume that this is a crime to formally discredit the army,” Galamov said in a telephone interview.

“It is being used against anyone who refuses to inflate the Kremlin’s playbook and tries to make an objective and impartial analysis of what is going on,” he said.

Defaming Russia’s armed forces became a crime in Russia under a new law adopted after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022. Critics of the Kremlin have been regularly charged under the law.

Galliamov described the move against him as part of the Russian government’s “intimidation strategy”.

“It’s not trying to get to me — it’s impossible. It’s a message to the rest,” he said.

As in, “Don’t criticize, don’t think that your independent view of what’s going on will go unpunished.”

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