On December 18, 2023 famous Russian writer Boris Akunin (Grigory Chkhartishvili), living in London, has been declared an extremist and terrorist by the Russian government and a criminal case was opened againist him.
On December 15, altered recordings of pranksters' conversations with writers Boris Akunin and Dmitry Bykov were published on the internet. During the conversation, Akunin and Bykov confirmed that they support Ukraine, express solidarity with the Ukrainians and confirmed their moral and financial support towards them.
Following the announcement of the charges, Russia’s largest bookstores began removing Boris Akunin’s books from shelves, while major online stores almost completely removed his works from their platforms. "Zakharov" publishing house that owns publishing rights to Boris Akunin’s books, was raided, all editions held at the premises were confiscated and its’ employees were questioned in order to determine character of their relationship with the author. The Moscow "Gubernsky Theater" removed performances based on his plays. Literary magazine "Novi Mir" blocked sites with Akunin's works.
During the appearance on Vladimir Solovyov’s TV show, member of Russia’s Duma, Andrei Guruliov demanded „destroying“ writer Boris Akunin for calling the Russian army a "bunch of criminals“.Declaring a writer an extremist and a terrorist by the ruling regime for his position, means prohibiting free thought and free speech, depreciating and cancelling civilized values and turning the country into one big concentration camp. This is happening in a State, whose army is stationed 40 kilometers from Tbilisi.
PEN Georgia appeals to all PENN organizations around the world, to free writers and artists to unite against this evil, show our solidarity and protect free speech.