(New York)– The Russian government has declared eight media figures as ‘foreign agents,” including journalists Elizaveta Osetinskaya, Irina Malkova, Maria Borzunova, and the writer and video blogger Evgeny Ponasenkov. In response, Polina Sadovskaya, PEN America’s Eurasia program director, issued the following statement:

“Putin’s rampant destruction of independent media in Russia continues with these latest declarations, which are clearly about intimidating the media industry as a whole in addition to punishing individuals who have persisted in speaking out. In the case of Elizaveta Osetinskaya, the ‘foreign agent’ declaration is deliberately adding insult to injury. Osetinskaya was already driven out of her job and her country years ago for her commitment to independent journalism, and for her work to expose corruption involving Putin’s inner circle. Those Russian journalists who have persisted in speaking the truth and uncovering the crimes of the Putin regime–no matter the cost–deserve the support and solidarity of the international community.” 

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. 

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, STrimel@PEN.org