MOSCOW - One of Russia’s most popular singers, Alla Pugacheva, has called on the Russian authorities to declare her a “foreign agent”, in solidarity with her strongly anti-war husband Maxim Galkin. A showbiz star too, he was labelled a “foreign agent” on Sunday after condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On social media Pugacheva called her husband “a true incorruptible Russian patriot, who wants... an end to our lads dying for illusory aims”. She has been a big star for decades. She said the Kremlin’s “illusory aims” in Ukraine “make our country a pariah and the lives of our citizens extremely difficult”. Her public criticism of the Russian offensive is likely to infuriate the Kremlin, BBC Moscow Correspondent Steve Rosenberg says. She said Galkin, a comedian, TV presenter and singer, wanted “prosperity for his motherland, peace, free speech”. Our correspondent says it will be interesting to see what effect her statement has on Russian public opinion of the Ukraine war - still described by the Kremlin as a “special military operation”. The label “foreign agent” has been applied by the Russian government to various media organisations, campaign groups and individuals openly critical of Kremlin policies. Pugacheva and Galkin went to Israel in late March, a month after the Russian invasion, and Pugacheva returned to Russia late last month with her children. In early September President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of Galkin: “our paths have clearly diverged - he has made very bad statements”.

Galkin condemned Russian troops’ alleged atrocities and said there could be no justification for the Ukraine invasion. Pugacheva, whose pop stardom dates back to Soviet times, has met Mr Putin on several occasions.