Popular Russian singer Zemfira declared foreign agent by government

MOSCOW (Reuters): Russia’s Justice Ministry on Friday placed Zemfira, one of post-Soviet Russia’s most popular singers, on a list of foreign agents on grounds that she supported Ukraine and criticized Russia’s “special military operation” in that country.

Tass news agency quoted a ministry statement as saying that Zemfira, whose full name is Zemfira Ramazanova, “openly supported Ukraine, held concerts in unfriendly countries while speaking against the special military operation and received support from foreign sources.”

Zemfira, an ethnic Volga Tatar born in the central Russian region of Bashkortostan, began performing in 1998 and gained popularity in Russia and other ex-Soviet states. She was known to oppose the conflict with Ukraine and for a time, her website featured the slogan “No to war.”

She is reported by numerous websites to have left Russia to settle in France after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Russians labelled foreign agents have often been subjected to police searches and other punitive measures. Many have left the country in the past year.

The ministry noted other Russian nationals had also been labelled a foreign agent on Friday, including opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov.