President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin are each day moving closer to the era of the Soviet Union’s complete control of the information that the Russian people can see, hear, and read.
Under the new “Foreign Agent” designation, the Kremlin can now crackdown on all independent news services and reports which are in direct contrast to the government-run, funded, and controlled outlets such as Sputnik and RT (Russia Today).
On Tuesday, the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s main security agency, released a 60-point list of information that “states, organizations and foreign citizens can use against the security of Russia.”
Covering any crimes related to the military, troop deployments, training, and structure of the Russian armed forces and other security organizations are grounds for a media outlet to qualify as a “foreign agent.”
The Kremlin initially adopted the “foreign agent” law in retaliation to the RT and Sputnik news organizations being forced to register as such in the United States. In Russia, that designation has now been expanded to virtually all news organizations that are not controlled by the Kremlin.
On August 20, the country’s largest independent online broadcaster, TV Rain (Dozhd), was branded a foreign agent. The same day, the investigative website Vazhnye Istorii (IStories), its editor-in-chief, and five of the site’s journalists were also listed as foreign agents.