News 12 january — 10:17

Prominent Writers Quit Russian PEN Center

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Prominent Russian writer Boris Akunin, whose real name is Grigory Chkhartishvili, has severed his association with the Russian PEN Center in part of a widening split within the rights organization, RFE/RL reports.

Writing on Facebook on January 10, Akunin said that the Russian PEN Center does not defend persecuted writers and so has "nothing in common" with the global PEN movement.

The previous day, poet Lev Rubinshtein and writer Aleksandr Ilichevsky also quit the group to protest the expulsion from the group of prominent journalist and activist Sergei Parkhomenko.

Formally, Parkhomenko was expelled from the group for "provocative activity," but he wrote on the website of Ekho Moskvy radio that he was punished for criticizing the Russian PEN Center for failing to support Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who is serving 20 years in a Russian prison after being convicted of plotting terrorist attacks.

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