Russia will publish the personal data of “foreign agents”
Russian authorities will start publishing the personal data of people and groups they have labeled as “foreign agents” from next month, according to a government decree issued on Friday.
Russia’s Justice Ministry maintains a register of nearly 200 “foreign agent” individuals and organizations who authorities say have received foreign funds and engaged in political activities.
Starting Dec. 1, the Justice Department will post the tax identification and individual insurance account numbers of “foreign officials” on its website in addition to their names and dates of birth, according to the prime minister’s decree. Mikhail Mishustin.
The department will need to disclose the legal basis for adding individuals or groups to the “foreign agent” database.
The designation “foreign agents,” which has negative Soviet-era connotations, imposes strict labeling and auditing requirements on subjects.
Many independent journalists, activists and civil society figures have been added to the register in recent years as part of a sweeping crackdown on voices unaligned with the Kremlin.
The Kremlin says the controversial “foreign agents” law is modeled on similar legislation in the United States.
Also on December 1, the label “foreign agents” will be expanded to encompass anyone deemed to have come under “foreign influence” of any kind – not just funding – under a law signed by President Vladimir Putin in July.
“Foreign agents” will be banned from state funding, teaching at state universities, or working with children under the new law. Their websites can be blocked without a court order.
The Department of Justice will also maintain a list of individuals and groups deemed to be “affiliated with foreign agents.”
This article first appeared in The Moscow Times and is republished through a sharing partnership with the Barents Observer.