November 27, 2023

From Prime Minister to Foreign Agent


From Prime Minister to Foreign Agent
Mikhail Kasyanov (center) at a protest. WGN Morning News, Twitter.

On November 24, the Russian Ministry of Justice declared former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, who served in that role during President Vladimir Putin's first term, a "foreign agent." 

Kasyanov was Boris Yeltsin's Minister of Finance near the end of his term, but the 65-year-old's career wasn't over. He became Putin's prime minister in 2000, but was dismissed in 2004. Kasyanov then became an opposition figure, challenging Putin in the 2008 election. In 2017, during a march in memory of the assassinated Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, a man showered Kasyanov in zelyonka (green paint), similar to what was done to Alexei Navalny later that year.

The former prime minister has openly opposed Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In its statement, the Ministry of Justice cited Kasyanov's membership in the Anti-War Committee of Russia as justification for labeling him "a foreign agent." Kasyanov is currently in exile in Latvia.

Kasyanov was not alone on the Ministry of Justice's list of new foreign agents. Historian Ilya Benyavkin, journalists Ilya Devlyatchin and Idris Yusupov, and the limited liability company Lyudi (people) were also declared foreign agents. 

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