Russia puts prominent Pussy Riot member on wanted list | News Today

Russia puts prominent Pussy Riot member on wanted list

| News Today | Local News

Russian authorities have added a prominent member of the Pussy Riot protest group to the government’s wanted list, in final step to increase pressure on opposition activists and independent media

MOSCOW – Russian authorities on Monday added Piotr Verzilov, a prominent member of the protest group Pussy Riot, to the government’s wanted list in the last step to step up pressure on opposition activists and the media independent.

Verzilov, an editor of the independent news site Mediazona, was called a “foreign agent” along with the media outlet and its editor Sergei Smirnov in September. The designation comes with additional government scrutiny and has strong pejorative connotations that may discredit the recipient.

His name was on the wanted list by the Russian Interior Ministry because of his inability to report his Canadian citizenship to the authorities, according to his lawyer Leonid Soloviev.

In comments to the Russian state news agency Tass, Soloviev stressed that Verzilov does not incur jail time for this offense and could be ordered to pay a fine or perform community service if he. is found guilty.

Since 2014, Russians who fail to declare their second nationality can be fined up to 200,000 rubles ($ 2,770) or up to 400 hours of community service.

In recent months, the government has designated a number of independent media outlets and journalists as “foreign agents” and raided the homes of several prominent reporters. The publisher of a media outlet that published investigative reports into allegations of corruption and abuse by senior Russian officials and tycoons close to Putin has been banned as an “unwanted” organization.

Two other news outlets shut down after authorities accused them of links to “undesirable” organizations.

Human rights groups in Russia have come under similar pressure, at least two of them disbanded in recent months to avoid further repression.

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