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Bill submitted to Russian parliament on labeling individuals as foreign agents

Individuals labeled as foreign agents must report about their activity at least once in every six months
Russian State Duma Sergei Fadeichev/TASS
Russian State Duma
© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

MOSCOW, November 18. /TASS/. A group of MPs and senators on Wednesday submitted to the State Duma, Russia's lower house, a bill authorizing the recognition of individuals as foreign agents and defining their status and responsibility, one of its authors Vasily Piskarev said.

"Suggesting this package of amendments we say: you get money for your activity from abroad, please, register as a foreign agent and work but you must inform state bodies and Russian citizens in the interests of which state you are acting, which events you are planning and carrying out and how you are spending money allocated by foreign sponsors," said Piskarev, who heads the Security and Corruption Control Committee.

"In particular, such individuals can neither hold office at a state and municipal service nor have access to state secrets," said the lawmaker, who also heads the State Duma’s commission on investigating facts of foreign meddling in Russia’s affairs.

Under the document, individuals can be recognized as foreign agents regardless of their citizenship if they carry out political activity on Russian soil "in the interests of a foreign state, its state bodies, international or a foreign organization, foreign citizens or persons without citizenship."

Another reason could be an effort aimed at "deliberately collecting data on Russia’s military, military-technical activity, which can be used by foreign sponsors against Russian security, except for data that is a state secret and the handover of which is prosecuted under the Criminal Code."

Such individuals must apply for being listed as foreign agents. If foreign citizens living abroad plan to carry out this activity in Russia, they should notify the authorities in advance before their arrival in the country. The list of individuals who are foreign agents will be available to the public. Meanwhile, diplomatic staff, accredited foreign journalists and other persons with special permission will be exempt from this procedure.

Individuals labeled as foreign agents must report about their activity, including on spending money and using property provided by foreign sponsors, at least once in every six months.