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Russia’s ex-finance minister regrets adoption of foreign agent media law

November 25, 23:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Earlier on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law the bill on the mass media outlets designated as foreign agents

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, November 25. /TASS/. Russia’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, who now heads the Center for Strategic Research, regrets a law on the media outlets designated as foreign agents has come into force in Russia, he told reporters on Saturday after the All-Russian Civic Forum held in Moscow.

"I believe … the law on NGOs is very tough and I believe that lots of NGOs are improperly defined as foreign agents. I also regret the media are included in this [group]," he said.

Earlier on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law the bill on the mass media outlets designated as foreign agents.

On November 22, Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) endorsed the bill, with 154 votes for the document and one abstained vote. On November 15, the third and final reading of the bill was approved by Russia’s lower house of parliament, State Duma.

The law labels media outlets as foreign agents if they receive funding from abroad. After acquiring this status, these media outlets will be subject to the restrictions and responsibilities, which are currently envisaged for non-governmental organizations (NGO) labeled as foreign agents. They will also face the same responsibility as those NGOs for breaching the legislation.

This measure was a response to the demand of the US Department of Justice to RT America, a US branch of the Russian television company, to register as a foreign agent.

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