Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 21 July 2022 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Putin Signs Harsher ‘Foreign Agent’ Law
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill expanding the definition of so-called foreign agents. The new law encompasses anyone deemed to have fallen under “foreign influence.” Russia has used its so-called foreign agent laws for the past decade to label and punish critics of government policies. Under the new document, anyone could be registered as a “foreign agent.”
The law signed on July 14 will come into force on December 1. The original 2012 legislation, which targeted NGOs and rights groups, has since been expanded to target media organizations, individual journalists, YouTube vloggers, and virtually anyone who receives money from outside of Russia and, in the eyes of the Kremlin, voices a political opinion. The new legislation expands the “foreign agent” designation through an array of new provisions and bans. The Act defines “foreign agent”, “foreign influence”, “foreign sources” and types of political activity, and introduces the concept of a natural person “related” to foreign agents. The new law signed by Putin expands the definition of “foreign agents” to those who receive support of any kind, not just money, from abroad, but also are politically active or collect data on the Russian military activity to pose a threat to the country’s security. According to the law, the four existing registries of foreign agents will be merged and a new list will be created to register all individuals tagged as foreign agents. The law introduces the definition of Individuals who are officially labeled as foreign agents. These are founders, members, participants, or employees of any organization labeled as a “foreign agent” and those who received money from such entities. A special registry will be created to identify them all. What this will mean for them will come out later. Any person tagged as a foreign agent will no longer be able to receive state grants for creative activities, work as teachers, organize public events, or work for organizations that distribute information. In addition, Putin has signed a law on measures in response to discrimination against Russian media outlets abroad. Under the document, the Russian attorney general has the right to ban foreign media outlets that operate in Russia and suspend the media outlet’s activities for up to three months in case of a first infringement. A similar order of up to six months could be issued if recurrence occurs.
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