Russia is expanding measures against “foreign agents” to include the military sector

Moscow PHOTO: Reuters

Russia’s main domestic intelligence agency has published a list of dozens of types of information, the disclosure of which by Russian citizens abroad could lead to their classification as “foreign agents,” Reuters reported. Critics of the move say it poses risks to journalists who write about the military or Russia’s space program.

Russia expanded its legislation against “foreign agents” last year to include people who intentionally collect military or military technical information that could be used in the interests of a foreign government or organization.

The Federal Security Service (FSS) published a list of 60 topics related to unclassified information, many of which are related to the military, on a government website late yesterday. According to the FSS, this information could be used by foreign governments against Russian security.

The list includes topics such as military supplies, the fighting spirit of the troops, the location and number of soldiers, their personal data and problems that hinder the development of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

According to the law, both Russians and non-Russian citizens can be identified as foreign agents.

People designated as foreign agents can be fined and even imprisoned for up to five years if they fail to meet requirements such as submitting documents to be officially added to Russia’s state register of foreign agents.

In recent months, Russia has identified several media outlets and dozens of journalists as “foreign agents.” This is a definition referring to the Cold War era, which requires the media to place in a prominent place in the content they distribute the information that they are “foreign agents”, which reduces their advertising revenue.

Russia says legislation is needed to prevent foreign interference and that journalists and media covered by this definition will be able to continue working.

Ivan Pavlov, a human rights lawyer who left Russia last month, said the categories were broad and would create risks in the work of journalists covering the military and the Russian space corporation.

According to him, the list actually criminalizes the collection of any information about the activity of Roscosmos and the military.

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