By Burc Eruygur
ISTANBUL (AA) - Russia early Thursday officially entered into force a law increasing restrictions against “foreign agents,” previously adopted by the State Duma in June.
“A foreign agent is a person who received support from foreign states or is under foreign influence and is engaged in political activities in Russia, purposefully gathering information on military, military-technical activities of the Russian Federation or disseminating messages and materials for an unlimited number of people,” the law stipulates.
According to the new law -- titled “On control over the activities of persons being under foreign influence -- “foreign agents” can also be Russian or foreign legal entities, regardless of their organizational and legal form, as well as public associations.
Based on the new law, “foreign agents” are obliged to inform authorities and employees about their status, and they have to label what they produce.
In addition, “foreign agents” will not be able to undertake certain tasks, including “performing educational activities in relation to minors or pedagogical activities in state and municipal educational organizations, creating information products for minors, and managing facilities of significant objects of critical information infrastructure and activities to ensure its security.”
The law also stipulates that “foreign agents” are not able to become state or municipal servants, take part in electoral processes or public events, and invest in strategic Russian enterprises.
To be excluded from Russia’s “foreign agents” register, an organization must either “stop receiving funds from foreign sources, or cease political activities, or fulfill both of these conditions at the same time.”
Meanwhile, individuals included in the register for the first time can use a simplified procedure for being excluded from the list where the person has the right to “submit a free form application and attach documents confirming the cessation of the reason for inclusion in the register,” after which a decision is made by the Russian justice minister or his/her deputy.
Russian public authorities, state companies, and state corporations, including persons controlled by them, religious organizations, political parties, and members of international organizations who come to Russia to “perform their official duties” will not be categorized under the title of “foreign agent.”