Russia labels Moscow Times a ‘foreign agent’

The Russian Justice Ministry labeled The Moscow Times, a popular English-language online newspaper, as a “foreign agent” on Friday, continuing a national crackdown on opposition media.

The Moscow Times, founded after the downfall of the Soviet Union in 1992, is popular among Russian ex-patriots, foreigners in Russia and those critical of the Russian government.

The “foreign agent” designation subjects companies to increased financial and legal scrutiny. It is also commonly used to hurt a company’s credibility, according to The Associated Press.

The paper’s newsroom was relocated from Moscow to The Netherlands in 2022 after new media regulations following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Its website was banned in Russia weeks after the invasion began, and is currently accessible in the country via a constantly-rotating list of proxy addresses communicated to readers through Telegram.

Friday’s announcement follows a trend of using “foreign agent” status to limit media, including placing the label on Nobel Prize-winning editor Dmitry Muratov in September. The country shut down his publication, Novaya Gazeta, days later.

Russia has prominently jailed multiple western journalists accusing them of espionage, including The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich and Radio Free Europe’s Alsu Kurmasheva — both Americans.

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