Russia’s federal financial monitoring service, Rosfinmonitoring, has placed one of Russia’s most famous contemporary novelists, Boris Akunin, on its list of “terrorists and extremists”, according to its website. His appearance on the Rosfinmonitoring list means that Akunin is already under investigation in a case connected to extremism and terrorism.
A criminal case was reportedly opened against Akunin for discrediting the Russian army last week, Interfax reported, though the grounds for opening criminal proceedings against the writer were not specified, and it doesn’t clarify the decision to include him on a list of terrorists and extremists.
Akunin reacted to the news on his website on Monday by warning Russians in exile not to consider returning to the country.
“My unfortunate homeland … has fallen into the hands of criminals. The people living there — even those who have not yet realised it — are hostages”.
“Books have not been banned in Russia since Soviet times. Writers have not been accused of terrorism since the Great Terror,” Akunin continued.
“This is not a bad dream, this is happening to Russia for real.”
Akunin, whose real name is Grigory Chkhartishvili, is a Russian-Georgian writer famous for his Erast Fandorin novels that have been published in dozens of languages around the world.
Earlier this month, Akunin, who has long been a critic of the Kremlin and who currently lives in London, was targeted alongside fellow writer Dmitry Bykov by infamous Russian telephone pranksters Vovan and Lexus.
Impersonating members of the Ukrainian leadership, the pair recorded conversations with both writers in which Akunin said he had organised a fundraiser for Ukraine, while Bykov expressed an interest in channelling funds towards Ukraine.
The release of the conversations had already led several Russian publishers and bookshops to announce that they would no longer publish or sell works by either author.