Russian writer Akunin in big trouble after his prank call with Zelensky

Russian authorities crack down on writer Akunin for his pro-Ukraine remarks

On December 18, the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring (Rosfinmonitoring) put famous Russian writer Boris Akunin (real name Grigory Chkhartishvili) on the list of terrorists and extremists.

"Chkhartishvili Georgiy Shalvovich, born on May 20, 1956, in Zestafoni, Georgian SSR,” the entry on the list runs.

The list is officially titled as the "List of organisations and individuals in relation to which there is information about their involvement in extremist activities or terrorism.”

The agency does not give any name specific reasons why they put a particular person or entity on this list.

In addition, it was later reported that a criminal case was opened against Akunin due to possible calls for extremism.

The writer found himself at the centre of a scandal after his phone conversation with pranksters Vovan (Vladimir Kuznetsov) and Lexus (Alexey Stolyarov). They published a recording of their prank call with Akunin. The pranksters called Akunin on behalf of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. They asked the writer whether he agreed that Ukraine's shelling of Crimea and other regions of Russia was justified, to which the writer replied:

"This does not arouse protest in anyone of us. We understand this very well."

It is worthy of note that Akunin called Ukrainian propaganda ineffective in relation to Russia.

A number of Russian politicians and social activists cracked down on Akunin after his remarks. State Duma deputy Elena Drapeko said that the sale of Akunin's books in Russia should be banned. The head of the Federal Project for Security and Anti-Corruption, Vitaly Borodin, said that one should establish whether Akunin's statements contained calls for terrorist activities. Other activists assumed that Boris Akunin should be put on the list of foreign agents.

Soon afterwards, AST publishing house decided to suspend the sale of Boris Akunin's books. The head of the publishing house, Pavel Grishkov, said that Akunin's statements required a legal assessment, so the sale of his books would not be resumed until the situation was clarified.

Akunin responded by saying that he was saying goodbye to Russian readers "for a while.” He said that he did not intend to "part with his readers of his own free will,” and set out a hope that he was saying goodbye to his Russian readers only "for a while.”

Boris Akunin's new books "My Calendar”, the 10th volume of "History of the Russian State” and "Moscow-Xinjing” are ready for publication, but most likely will not be published in the Russian Federation, the writer also said.

Boris Akunin left Russia back in 2014. He resides in London.

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Author`s name Pavel Morozov
Editor Dmitry Sudakov