Iconic Russian singer asks to be named ‘foreign agent’

Iconic Russian singer Alla Pugacheva, hugely popular since Soviet times, says she wants to be added to Russia’s foreign agents list in solidarity with her husband who has been designated as one.

The statement by Pugacheva on Instagram on Sunday is a notable slap from a prominent figure at Russian authorities, who have stifled dissent in recent years.

Pugacheva’s husband, the singer and TV presenter Maxim Galkin, who has criticized Russia’s sending troops into Ukraine, was added to the foreign agents register on Saturday by the justice ministry for allegedly conducting political activities on behalf of Ukraine and receiving Ukrainian funding.

She called Galkin a “true and incorruptible patriot” who wishes for “the end of deaths of our guys for illusory goals.”

Russian law allows organizations and individuals deemed to be involved in political activity that receive funding from abroad to be declared foreign agents. The term carries a strong pejorative sense and implies additional government scrutiny.

The 73-year-old Pugacheva is noted for her emotional singing and colourful performances. She hit stardom in the 1970s and remains widely popular throughout the former Soviet Union. 

In early March the two left Russia for Israel, along with their nine-year-old twins.

Galkin, 46, whose mother is Jewish, came out against the war in an Instagram post on February 24, saying: “I cannot describe what I am feeling right now. How is this all possible? There is no justification for war! No to war!”

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