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Novelist Lioudmila Oulitskaïa, opponent of Putin, classified as a “foreign agent” in Russia

After the Russian writer Boris Akunin, the novelist Lioudmila Oulitskaïa, critic of the Russian assault in Ukraine and who lives in exile in Germany, was classified on Friday as a “foreign agent” by the Russian authorities, a symbol of the repression which also affects artists.

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Novelist Lioudmila Oulitskaïa, opponent of Putin, classified as a “foreign agent” in Russia

After the Russian writer Boris Akunin, the novelist Lioudmila Oulitskaïa, critic of the Russian assault in Ukraine and who lives in exile in Germany, was classified on Friday as a “foreign agent” by the Russian authorities, a symbol of the repression which also affects artists.

Hundreds of people, human rights activists, opponents or independent journalists, have been classified in Russia in recent years as “foreign agents”, which is accompanied by strict administrative constraints and the obligation to appear as such in all public communication.

Lioudmila Oulitskaïa, 81, is known in Russia for her books Sonietchka - crowned with the Medici Prize in 1996 - and Le Chapiteau Vert. Her best-known novel, Daniel Stein, Interpreter, inspired by the true story of a Jewish man who became a Catholic priest, won the Big Book Prize in 2007. In France, she was made a Knight of Arts and Letters in 2004 and then officer of the Legion of Honor in 2014. She was laureate of the Formentor literary prize in 2022.

Ludmila Oulitskaïa left Russia a few days after the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 to reach Berlin, then Paris. The war in Ukraine “killed me”. “I was born during the war, under Stalin, and I hoped to die without having seen the next one. Of course, there were all these small wars constantly going on, Chechnya, South Ossetia... But what is happening today is unimaginable,” she declared in an interview with Le Monde.

This writer, who loves freedom of expression, whose works have been translated into many languages, likes to stand up to the Kremlin, a very rare choice in the Russian literary world. The writer has repeatedly denounced the “senseless” assault by Russian forces in Ukraine, assuring in 2023 that it would have “catastrophic consequences for Russia itself”.

According to the Russian Ministry of Justice on Friday, the author “opposed” the conflict in Ukraine and notably “made propaganda in favor of LGBT relations”. She has lived in Germany since 2022 after leaving Russia following the launch of the offensive in Ukraine, like many of Vladimir Putin's detractors.

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