Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has found a new reason for Russia’s controversial “foreign agent” regulations – the United States’ own such restrictions, she claims.
Russia’s “foreign agent” law, described by critics as a form of censorship, requires any individuals or non-governmental organization that receive foreign financial assistance, and whom the Russian government considers to be involved in political activity, to register with the country’s Ministry of Justice as “foreign agents” and mark their public materials accordingly.
Twenty news sites or media organizations, including Current Time and RFE/RL, the U.S. non-profit media corporation of which the network is part, have been designated as “foreign agents” since 2017, according to the justice ministry.
RFE/RL faces an expected $3.4 million in fines for not labeling its content as from a “foreign agent.” A case that opposes Russia’s right to levy such fines was filed with the European Court of Human Rights on May 19.
In her briefing roughly a week earlier, Zakharova stated that Russian requirements for “foreign agents” are a response to similar such requirements in the U.S.
We examined Zakharova’s remarks to pinpoint where the differences lie between the two countries’ “foreign agent” laws.