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Russia bans Moscow Times newspaper

July 11, 2024

Russia has declared the English-language newspaper The Moscow Times an "undesirable organization." Cooperating with the outlet can entail sentences of up to five years in prison.

Police officers walk past soap bubble seller near the Russian General Prosecutor's Office building in Moscow
Russian authorities are cracking down further on Western media outlets operating in the country, as the invasion of Ukraine continues Image: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo/picture alliance

The Russian Prosecutor General's Office on Wednesday banned the online newspaper The Moscow Times.

The website was blocked in Russia for allegedly discrediting the country's military shortly after the start of Kremlin-backed invasion of Ukraine.

What do we know about the Moscow Times ban?

The Prosecutor General's Office classified the newspaper as an "undesirable organization," saying it was undermining Russia's leadership.

The designation means that any cooperation with or payments to the outlet are now considered a criminal offense carrying sentences of up to five years in prison.

"The work of the publishing house is aimed at discrediting the decisions of the Russian leadership in both domestic and foreign policy," the statement said.

In November 2023, The Moscow Times was added to a list of "foreign agents."

Other Russian outlets such as Novaya Gazeta, Meduza, The Insider and Istories have also been classified as "undesirable" and banned.

The Prosecutor General's Office said Wednesday's ban was necessary as The Moscow Times cooperated with such media.

The Moscow Times said the designation came "as no surprise" and vowed to continue operating.

"Our jobs are going to become more difficult. Anyone in Russia who interacts with us in any way will now be at risk of criminal prosecution. But we refuse to be silenced," the website said.

What is The Moscow Times?

The Moscow Times was founded in 1992 as an English-language daily newspaper in Moscow by a Dutch publisher.

Its print edition was discontinued in 2017.

The website opened a Russian language service in 2020.

Russia begins espionage trial for US journalist Gershkovich

The Moscow Times relocated to the Netherlands after Russia cracked down on independent media in early 2022.

Former staff include prominent journalists, including Evan Gershkovich, who is currently standing trial in Russia on spying charges.

Last month, Russia banned access to over 80 Western media outlets.

sdi/wd (dpa, Reuters, AP)