Russian parliament's lower chamber, the State Duma, has approved in the last reading a bill that envisages fines for those violating the country’s controversial law on "foreign agents."
First passed in 2012 and expanded several times since, the law gives authorities the power to brand nongovernmental organizations, human rights groups, news media, and individuals working for organizations deemed to receive foreign funding for political activity as a “foreign agent,” a label that carries pejorative Soviet-era connotations.
The law subjects these organizations and individuals to bureaucratic scrutiny and spot checks and requires them to attach the "foreign agent" label to their publications. They must also report on their spending and funding.
According to the bill approved by lawmakers on February 16, failure to attach the "foreign agent" label could lead to fines of up to 2,500 rubles ($34) for individuals and up to 500,000 rubles ($6,800) for entities.
In addition, organizations branded as “foreign agents” and working without being registered as such could face fines of up to 5 million rubles ($68,000).
The bill will come into force after parliament’s upper chamber, the Federation Council, approves it and President Vladimir Putin signs it into law.
The law, among other things, requires certain news organizations that receive foreign funding, including RFE/RL, to label content within Russia as being produced by a "foreign agent."
Since early in Vladimir Putin’s presidency, the Kremlin has steadily tightened the screws on independent media. The country is ranked 149th out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index produced by Reporters Without Borders.
Russian Duma OKs Bill To Fine Violators Of Controversial 'Foreign Agents' Law
- The Washington Post | Josh Rogin, "Biden should tell Putin to stop harassing U.S. news organizations in Russia" (June 15, 2021)
- The Atlantic, "The Cost of Trump After Trump" (June 15, 2021)
- NPR, "5 Things To Watch At The Biden-Putin Summit" (June 14, 2021)
- American Purpose, "Defending Journalists against Gangsters" (June 14, 2021)
- The Washington Post | Editorial: "Biden’s test in Europe: Drawing red lines with Putin and Erdogan" (June 12, 2021)
- The Washington Post | Sen. Jim Risch: "Biden wants Russia’s cooperation. But Putin thrives on chaos." (June 11, 2021)
- Newsweek | Ilan Berman, "Four Priorities For The Biden-Putin Summit" (June 10, 2021)
- European Parliament | Resolution, "The listing of German NGOs as 'undesirable organisations' by Russia and the detention of Andrei Pivovarov" (June 10, 2021)
- U.S. Mission to the OSCE, "On Shrinking Space for Civil Society in Russia" (June 10, 2021)
- Novaya Gazeta, "«Эвакуация» «Свободы». 30 лет спустя" (June 8, 2021)
- Voice of America, "Russia Using Foreign Agent Law to Attack Journalism, Media Say" (June 10, 2021)
- Senate Foreign Relations Committee | Hearing: “U.S. Policy on Belarus” (June 8, 2021)
- The Dispatch, "How Moscow Is Threatening Radio Free Europe and the Remnants of the Independent Press" (Jun 1, 2021)
- Columbia Journalism Review | Joel Simon, "Repression and Reciprocity in Russia" (May 25, 2021)
- The Washington Post editorial, "Russia’s attack on U.S. media has become a test case" (May 21, 2021)
- The New York Times, Kremlin Escalates Fight With U.S.-Funded Journalists, Officials Say (May 20, 2021)
- Axios World, "Radio Free Europe fights to continue operations in Russia" (May 20, 2021)
- NPR, "Russia Cracks Down On U.S. Broadcaster RFE/RL" (May 15, 2021)
- AP, "Russian bailiffs show up at US broadcaster’s office" (May 14, 2021)
- Reuters, "Russia freezes Moscow bank accounts of U.S. broadcaster RFE/RL" (May 14, 2021)
- Deutsche Welle, "Russia freezes bank accounts of US broadcaster RFE/RL" (May 15, 2021)
- Moscow Times, "Moscow Bailiffs Visit RFE/RL Newsroom Over ‘Foreign Agent’ Fines" (May 14, 2021)
- International Press Institute, "Media face financial ruin under Russian 'foreign agent' law" (May 10, 2021)
- The Washington Post editorial, "The ominous lessons Putin is learning from Xi Jinping" (May 7, 2021)
- The Guardian, "Kremlin bears down on Moscow bureau of US-funded radio station" (May 5, 2021)
- The Washington Examiner, opinion by Ted Lipien on Russia's campaign against RFE/RL (May 3, 2021)
- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentions RFE/RL in World Press Freedom Day statement (May 2, 2021)
- U.S. State Department spokesman on RFE/RL in Russia (Apr 29, 2021)
- U.S. Mission to OSCE on RFE/RL in Russia (Apr 29, 2021)
- The Washington Post editorial, on RFE/RL, Meduza and the "foreign agent" law (Apr 26, 2021)
- The Power Vertical podcast - RFE/RL's Jamie Fly and Kiryl Sukhotski on "“Truth, Lies, And Foreign Agents: The Kremlin’s War On RFE/RL"
- The Atlantic's Anne Applebaum on Putin's rationale for forcing RFE/RL out of Russia (Apr 22, 2021)
- AP on RFE/RL's petition for "interim measures" at the ECtHR (Apr 16, 2021)
- Reuters on RFE/RL's petition for "interim measures" at the ECtHR (Apr 16, 2021)
- AFP on RFE/RL's petition for "interim measures" at the ECtHR (Apr 16, 2021)
- AlJazeera on RFE/RL's petition for "interim measures" at the ECtHR (Apr 16, 2021)
- Foreign Podicy podcast (FDD) - RFE/RL's Jamie Fly and Andrey Shary on "Putin vs. The Press" (Apr 10, 2021)
- Reuters on Russia's pressure on RFE/RL (Apr 7, 2021)
- AFP (via The Moscow Times) on Russia's pressure on RFE/RL (Apr 7, 2021)
- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, following meeting with USAGM Acting CEO Kelu Chao, on RFE/RL in Russia (Apr 6, 2021)
- U.S, Agency For Global Media, following meeting with Secretary of State Blinken, on RFE/RL in Russia (Apr 6, 2021)
- The Washington Post writes about the "foreign agent" law and its impact on Russian NGO's and RFE/RL (Apr 3, 2021)
- U.S. Mission to OSCE on RFE/RL in Russia (Mar 18, 2021)
- EU Mission to OSCE on RFE/RL in Russia (Mar 18, 2021)
- Reporters Without Borders on RFE/RL in Russia (Mar 16, 2021)
- U.S. Senators on RFE/RL in Russia (Mar 12, 2021)
- U.S. State Department spokesman on RFE/RL in Russia (Mar 3, 2021)
- The Washington Post editorializes about RFE/RL in Russia (Feb 12, 2021)
- The New York Times, "Russia Pushes U.S.-Funded News Outlet Toward Exit" (Jan 21, 2021)
- U.S. Members of Congress on RFE/RL in Russia (Jan 21, 2021)
- Committee to Protect Journalists on RFE/RL and Russia's expanded "foreign agent" law (Jan 14, 2021)