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No discrimination under Russian foreign agent law — upper house speaker

Valentina Matviyenko mentioned that the foreign agent law was a well-established international practice

MOSCOW, September 22. / TASS /. Non-profit and non-governmental organizations, as well as media sponsored from abroad should be open to the public, they are not discriminated against by the Russian foreign agent law, Federation Council (upper house) Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said on Wednesday.

"People should know that the organizations use foreign donations, the reports should be transparent. They should report how much funds they have received, from which countries, what they spent them on. [They should be] open and transparent to the public. Meanwhile, there is no discrimination towards such organizations or mass media," the upper house speaker noted.

Matviyenko also mentioned that the foreign agent law was a well-established international practice.

"When such organizations engage in social protection, healthcare or humanitarian projects on culture, we are only glad and support them. However, when it comes to participation in political processes, then it is the sovereign right of any state to protect itself. This is a kind of foreign meddling in the country’s political affairs," the upper house speaker stated.

"Nevertheless, it is crucial to work on improving the law enforcement practice, and we will work together with the Russian Civic Chamber and the Human Rights Council in this direction," Matviyenko said.

Foreign media agent law

Russia adopted the law on foreign media agents in 2017, shortly after the US Department of Justice requested RT America, a field office of Russia’s TV company, to register as a foreign agent in the US. According to the law, foreign media agents are obliged to provide data on their senior management, the expenditure of funds, audit as well as label their materials, indicating their foreign agent status.

On August 20, Russia’s Ministry of Justice recognized the TV Rain channel, the Vazhnye Istorii publication and seven journalists as foreign agents.