Novelist Boris Akunin ordered arrested by Russian court amid Russia-Ukraine war tensions

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67-year-old Boris Akunin, a best-selling detective writer, has been ordered to be arrested in absentia by a Moscow court as part of a crackdown on critics of Russia’s war in Ukraine. He was charged with “justifying terrorism” in December after expressing support for Ukraine in a prank call staged by pro-Kremlin activists. Akunin, whose real name is Grigory Chkhartishvili, currently resides in London and will be detained if he returns to Russia. The prank call involved individuals posing as Ukrainian officials, and a criminal case was opened against Akunin for “discrediting the army” and spreading “fake news” about the Russian military. In response to his criticism of Moscow’s assault on Ukraine, Akunin had already been labelled a “foreign agent” by the Kremlin. As a result, AST, one of Russia’s leading publishers, announced the suspension of the printing and sale of Akunin’s books. He has been one of Russia’s most widely read contemporary authors and a long-standing critic of the Kremlin. Many other prominent cultural figures have also fled the country in light of the crackdown.

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