Moscow declares Meduza a foreign agent

Russian authorities have designated the independent news website Meduza a "foreign agent". This means among other things that from now on the website, which reports on Russia in Russian but is based in Latvia, must indicate its status as a foreign agent in every report it publishes. Many of its advertising clients are pulling out, prompting the outlet to ask readers for donations. Commentators see the measure as part of a new Kremlin strategy.

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Ekho Moskvy (RU) /

Critical voices suppressed

For Echo of Moscow the measures are part of a Kremlin strategy to control the Russian-language media sector:

“Just as in 2012 all media and journalists who supported the wave of protests at the time were dealt with, now all the relevant media that actively reported on corruption investigations, poisonings and the subsequent pro-Navalny demonstrations are being purged. There are just a handful of such media, and Meduza is undoubtedly the most prominent and influential of the independent online media. ... Another topic will be the purging of Youtube, which was been recognised as a danger by the Kremlin because of Navalny.”

Novaya Gazeta (RU) /

Independent media projects now being targeted

Novaya Gazeta also sees this as the beginning of a new strategy directed against small media outlets which until now had been largely left in peace:

“These media don't have shareholders with whom one can reach an agreement, as was done with the shareholders of Kommersant or Vedomosti. They have donors and readers who are not interested in these media becoming toothless - quite the opposite, in fact. Meduza is just the most influential of them and the only one that has managed to become a commercially viable project. ... The common denominator of what is happening is simply that the centre of power in the country has finally shifted to the Lubyanka [the FSB headquarters].”