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Russian Author Akunin Warns of Totalitarianism as Putin’s Crackdown Escalates

Renowned Russian writer Boris Akunin, who was recently labeled a “terrorist” by Moscow, expressed concern that Russia, under Vladimir Putin, is transitioning from a police autocracy to a full-fledged totalitarian state. Akunin, living in exile, criticized Putin’s regime for extending repression into literature, marking a significant shift.

In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the government intensified its crackdown, implementing censorship and shutting down independent media. Akunin faced accusations and a criminal inquiry for his criticism of the invasion, and his name was added to the list of “terrorists and extremists.”

The measures coincide with Putin’s announcement of seeking a fifth term in 2024, raising fears of increased authoritarianism and stifling dissent reminiscent of the Stalin era. Akunin warned that Russia might further restrict internet freedom and introduce exit visas, moving closer to total control.