Russia designates former Prime Minister and Putin critic, Mikhail Kasyanov, as a 'foreign agent.'


Russia's Ministry of Justice has included former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on its "foreign agents" list, a designation frequently employed to restrict anti-Kremlin opposition.

Mr. Kasyanov, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, departed Russia shortly after the country's comprehensive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

He served as the Prime Minister during Mr. Putin's initial presidential term from 2000 to 2004, but he has since openly condemned Russia's involvement in the war in Ukraine.

During Mr. Putin's initial presidency from 2000 to 2004, he served as prime minister but criticized Ukraine's and Russia's involvement in the war.

As a liberal financial expert, he currently resides in exile. Many Kremlin critics and civil society groups find themselves on the "foreign agent" list, a designation that historically implied espionage.

Individuals on this list are required to explain their "foreign agent" status on their publications, including social media, and provide detailed updates on their funding sources to the authorities. Moreover, their participation in Russian political life is subject to restrictions.

According to the justice ministry, Mr. Kasyanov is cited as "opposing the special military operation in Ukraine" and being "a member of the Russian Anti-War Committee, an association whose activities are aimed at discrediting Russian foreign and domestic policy."

Initially, the "foreign agent" law targeted non-governmental organizations receiving foreign funding, but its scope has broadened to encompass individuals and media, whether Russian or foreign, perceived to be "under foreign influence."

In May, Russia's Supreme Court issued an order for the dissolution of the Party of People's Freedom (Parnas), which was led by Mr. Kasyanov. This small liberal opposition party had previously counted Boris Nemtsov among its members, one of the most outspoken critics of Putin, who was tragically shot dead near the Kremlin in 2015.