From media outlets, punk activists and journalists, to human rights defenders and even ordinary citizens — dozens of people have been ensnared by Russia's law on foreign agents. What exactly does the legislation entail?
Russia's foreign agent law dates back to 2012 when it originally applied to non-governmental organizations receiving funds and grants from abroad.
In December 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed new legislation that expanded the legal definition of who can be considered a foreign agent.
It now includes any private individual or group who receives any amount of foreign funding, whether from foreign governments, organizations or even citizens, and publishes "printed, audio, audio visual or other reports and materials."
A chilling effect
Once authorities slap a "foreign agent" tag on people or organizations, they are required to label anything they publish — even a social media post — with a disclaimer indicating their status as a foreign agent.
They are also required to file regular financial statements and reports on their activities every six months with the government, and undergo annual audits.
Russia: Students demand press freedom
The term "foreign agent" carries negative Soviet-era connotations in Russia, suggestive of spying. It was used by the Soviets for political dissidents.
The label also deters advertisers who hesitate at the possibility of being associated with a "foreign agent," or merely even an individual or entity viewed unfavorably in the eyes of the Kremlin.