Russia extends crackdown on “foreign agents” to military sector
MOSCOW, October 1 (Reuters) – Russia’s leading spy agency has documented dozens of types of information for which Russians who disclose it abroad can be characterized as “foreign agents”, a move which it claims criticism, creates risks for journalists covering the military or space. .
Russia expanded its laws against “foreign agents” last year so that individuals can be named if they deliberately collect military or military-technical information deemed to be used in the interest of a government or organization foreign.
The Federal Security Service on Thursday evening published a list of 60 unclassified subjects on a government website, many of which are military-related, which it says could be used by foreign governments against Russia’s security. .
The list includes such topics as military purchases, morale of troops, whereabouts of soldiers, number of soldiers, their personal data, and issues hampering the development of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.
Russians and non-Russians can qualify as foreign agents under the law.
Designated persons may be fined and even imprisoned for up to five years for failing to meet requirements, such as submitting documents to be officially added to the State Register of Foreign Agents of the Russia.
Russia has named several media outlets and dozens of journalists as “foreign agents” in recent months. It’s a designation with Cold War-era connotations that requires media outlets to make it clear in all of their content that they are “foreign agents,” reducing their advertising revenue.
Russia says legislation is necessary to protect against foreign interference and that designated journalists and media are still able to function.
Ivan Pavlov, a human rights lawyer who left Russia last month, said the categories were broad and would make the work of journalists who cover the Russian military and space company risky.
“… This creates a huge risk for journalists specializing in this subject. Because the list essentially criminalizes the collection of information on the activity of Roscosmos and the soldiers,” he said.
Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Anton Zverev; edited by Mark Heinrich
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