Russia labels Nobel Prize-winning journalist a ‘foreign agent’ News
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Russia labels Nobel Prize-winning journalist a ‘foreign agent’

The Russian Ministry of Justice designated Dmitry Muratov, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and reputed journalist, as a ‘foreign agent‘ on Friday. This classification was justified on the grounds that Muratov “used foreign platforms to disseminate opinions aimed at forming a negative attitude towards the foreign and domestic policy of the Russian Federation.”

The “foreign agent” designation mandates that individuals and organizations disclose their sources of funding and apply a specific tag to all their publications, including content shared on social media, thereby subjecting them and those who disseminate their content to potentially hefty fines. This categorization extends to some entities deemed “undesirable” under a 2015 law, which, notably, criminalizes involvement with such groups.

Critics argue that this maneuver by the Kremlin represents a broader strategy aimed at stifling dissent and suppressing independent journalism. Of significance, Muratov also holds the position of Editor at Independent Novaya Gazeta, which temporarily halted its publication in response to Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. Nevertheless, many of its journalists have regrouped to establish a new publication, Novaya Gazeta Europe, now headquartered in Latvia. Novaya Gazeta, founded in 1993 by former Soviet leader and fellow Nobel Peace laureate Mikhail Gorbachev, is one of the rare media outlets in Russia openly critical of President Vladimir Putin’s policies.

In a noteworthy act of philanthropy, Muratov had previously put up his Nobel medal for auction, receiving $103.5 million, which he declared would be directed towards aiding refugee children from Ukraine. He now joins a growing list of distinguished individuals similarly labelled as “foreign agents.”

This comes as Russia has been systematically singling out individuals and organizations critical of the Kremlin, categorizing them as “foreign agents.”