Russia adds rights activists and other individuals to media ‘foreign agents’ list
Ilya Varlamov, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Russia adds rights activists and other individuals to media ‘foreign agents’ list

The Russian Ministry of Justice on Monday added veteran rights activist Lev Ponomaryov and four other individuals to its list of media “foreign agents.” This is the first time that individuals have been added to the list of “foreign agents,” as the legislation has previously been used primarily against media outlets.

The “foreign agent” law requires foreign entities such as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to label themselves as foreign agents when entering, communicating or interacting with citizens of the country. The law was amended in 2019 to include those who communicate with foreign media outlets.

On Monday, five individuals were added to the list of media “foreign agents.” Rights activist Lev Ponomarev has been a longtime critic of President Vladimir Putin. Lyudmila Savitskaya, Sergey Markelov, Denis Kamalyagin, and Daria Apakhonchich were also added to the list. These individuals are a human rights activist and journalists who contribute to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The company Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty was added to the list in February 2020.

Individuals have been fined for violating NGO laws before, but this is the first time that individuals were added to the list of media “foreign agents.” There are now a total of 17 organizations and individuals on the list, seven of which were added in 2020.

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