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Why Putin Is Obsessed With ‘Foreign Agents’

1 65 29
14.09.2021

Ahead of Russia’s State Duma elections this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reason to be concerned: The popularity of his party, United Russia, has been in steep decline in recent years, and the party’s two-thirds supermajority in the lower house of parliament is surprisingly vulnerable. Putin’s response to this predicament is less startling: He’s branding his most influential political enemies and critics “foreign agents.”

Putin has used Russia’s “foreign agents” law for nearly a decade, but now he’s enhanced it. A series of amendments, enacted on Dec. 30 last year, allows the regime to target any organization that receives foreign funds or any individual who voices criticism of Putin, even on social media.

Already, the law has been used to harass and intimidate anti-Kremlin and pro-democracy activists, forcing most of them to remain silent or flee the country. Those unable to avoid the “foreign agent” label are required to report their activities to the Ministry of Justice every six months—or face up to five years in prison.

Ahead of Russia’s State Duma elections this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reason to be concerned: The popularity of his party, United Russia, has been in steep decline in recent years, and the party’s two-thirds supermajority in the lower house of parliament is surprisingly vulnerable. Putin’s response to this predicament is less startling: He’s branding his most influential political enemies and critics “foreign agents.”

Putin has used Russia’s “foreign agents” law for nearly a decade, but now he’s enhanced it. A series of amendments, enacted on Dec. 30 last year, allows the regime to target any organization that receives foreign funds or any individual who voices criticism of Putin, even on social media.

Already, the law has been used to harass and intimidate anti-Kremlin and pro-democracy activists, forcing most of them to remain silent or flee........

© Foreign Policy


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