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Kremlin against jumping to conclusions in relation to foreign agents bill

The Kremlin spokesman has offered to wait until the bill is fully developed

MOSCOW, November 8. /TASS/. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called on the Russian public not to jump to conclusions in relation to the bill on individuals being named as foreign agents, as the document has not been fully prepared yet.

"Lately, there have been concerns regarding the legal application of various laws, and in many cases, these concerns prove to be unfounded," he told reporters, offering to wait until the bill is fully developed. "The work on the bill is ongoing, it will continue," Peskov noted.

In response to the question on the risks that may be facing foreign reporters working in Russia, Peskov noted that these people are employees of foreign media and they do not act as natural persons.

In late 2017, Russia introduced a law on media outlets exercising the role of foreign agents. According to the law, a media outlet receives the status of a foreign agent if it receives funding from abroad. In January 2018, the Russian State Duma approved the first reading of another bill that obliges all media with the status of foreign agents to establish a Russian legal entity to work in Russia and includes individuals on the list of potential foreign agents. This move came as a response to the demands of the US Department of Justice for RT America (the US branch of the Russian television network) to register as a foreign agent in the United States.

Russian senator Andrei Klimov explained earlier that the expanded bill would include "not only owners of a [media] resource, but also those who spread information to an unrestricted number of persons, namely on the Internet" "At the same time, they receive funding from abroad. In this case, the source of the money does not matter: it can be a state organization, a non-government body, an individual, a stateless person. What matters is that the funding remains foreign," he noted.

Such an individual can continue acting in the way they see fit, however, they will be bound by certain restrictions and must register with the Russian Ministry of Justice, providing the corresponding documents, the senator added.