Russia civil war as deluded Putin claims ex-PM and ally is foreign agent

Deluded Vladimir Putin has sought to tighten his grip on power after a former ally was added to a list of “foreign agents”.

Ex-Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov served during Vladimir Putin’s first presidential term in 2000-2004.

However, Mr Kasyanov has been vocal against the Russian leader’s war in Ukraine.

He left Russia shortly after its full-scale invasion in February 2022 and now lives in exile in Latvia.

The Russian justice ministry accused Mr Kasyanov of being a member of the Russian Anti-War Committee (AWCR), “an association whose activities are aimed at discrediting Russian foreign and domestic policy”.

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The AWCR was set up last year by Russian opponents of President Putin who live abroad, including the exiled former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Russian law allows for any figures and organisations receiving money or support from outside the country to be designated as foreign agents.

The list of “foreign agents” is often used to curb anti-Kremlin opposition.

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Those who are placed on the list have to acknowledge their ‘foreign agent’ status as a disclaimer on any work they produce and even add it to their social media profiles.

During his time as PM, Mr Kasyanov was responsible for liberal economic reforms, including Russia’s adoption of a flat income tax.

He attempted to run for president in 2008, but his candidacy was rejected by the Russian election commission.

In May this year, Russia’s Supreme Court ordered the liquidation of the Party of People’s Freedom (Parnas) led by Mr Kasyanov.

The liberal opposition party formerly included prominent Putin critic Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead near the Kremlin in 2015.

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