Abbas Gallyamov wrote speeches for Vladimir Putin during the Russian leader’s 2008-2012 period as prime minister.
Police in Russia have placed a former speechwriter for President Vladimir Putin on a wanted list of criminal suspects over his comments about the war in Ukraine, the latest step in Moscow’s sweeping crackdown on dissent.
Abbas Gallyamov wrote speeches for Putin during the Russian leader’s 2008-2012 period as prime minister. Gallyamov, 50, later became an outspoken political consultant and analyst who was often quoted by Russian and foreign media. He has lived abroad in recent years.
On Friday, Russian and international news outlets discovered that Gallyamov was included in the Ministry of Interior’s database. The submission said he was wanted “in connection with an article of the Criminal Code”, but did not include the law he was accused of breaking.
The Russian Justice Ministry last month added Gallyamov to its register of foreign agents, a designation that carries additional government scrutiny and strong pejorative connotations designed to undermine the recipient’s credibility.
The ministry said that Gallyamov “distributed material made 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 in information platforms provided by foreign structures”.
The Russian Interior Ministry has put Abbas Gallyamov, a former Putin speechwriter and political scientist who now resides outside Russia, on its federal “wanted” list.
— Meduza in English (@meduza_en) March 24, 2023
Gallyamov had recently given an interview in which he predicted that an uprising in Russia was possible because of the war against Ukraine. as it is now”.
Gallyamov told the Associated Press on Friday that he had learned through the media that he was on a wanted list. No law enforcement agency has been contacted, so he does not know what charges he faces in Russia.
“I assume that it is formally the offense to discredit the military,” Gallyamov said in a telephone interview.
“It is used against anyone who refuses to expand the Kremlin’s playbook and tries to conduct an objective, impartial analysis of what is going on,” he said.
Discrediting the Russian armed forces became a crime in Russia under a new law passed after Moscow sent troops to Ukraine in February 2022. Critics of the Kremlin have regularly been charged under the law.
Gallyamov described the action against him as part of the Russian government’s “strategy of intimidation”.
“It is not an attempt to get to me – it is impossible. It’s a message for the rest,” he said.
“As in, ‘No criticism, don’t think your independent view of what’s happening will go unpunished’.”