Russia Labels VTimes Media Outlet As Foreign Agent

By RFE/RL's Russian Service

Russia has labeled the media outlet VTimes as a "foreign agent," a move that will require it to label itself as such and subject it to increased government scrutiny.

MOSCOW -- Russia has labeled the media outlet VTimes as a "foreign agent," a move that will require it to label itself as such and subject it to increased government scrutiny.

The Foreign Ministry's list of those deemed "foreign agents" included VTimes when it was published on May 14.

On April 23, Russia applied the same foreign agent label to Meduza, a popular independent news site.

Russia’s so-called "foreign agent" legislation was adopted in 2012 and has been modified repeatedly. It requires nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign assistance and that the government deems to be engaged in political activity to be registered, to identify themselves as "foreign agents," and to submit to audits.

Later modifications of the law targeted foreign-funded media, including RFE/RL's Russian Service, six other RFE/RL Russian-language news services, and Current Time, a network run by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA.

At the end of 2020, the legislation was modified again to allow the Russian government to add individuals, including foreign journalists, to the list and to impose restrictions on them.

Activists have described the "foreign agent" legislation as “restrictive” and intended "to demonize independent groups."

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