Russian Government Tags Bellingcat and Other Independent News Outlet Journalists as “Foreign Agents”

The Russian Justice Ministry has added Bellingcat and nine journalists from various news outlets to its “foreign agents” list.

According to the ministry, Bellingcat, as well as the independent Caucasian Knot news website and journalists including Tatyana Voltskaya, Ekaterina Klepikovskaya, Daniil Sotnikov, Andrey Zakharov, Evgeny Simonov, Elizaveta Surnacheva, Elena Solovieva, Galina Arapova, and Roman Pearl were placed in the list for “performing the functions of a foreign agent.”  

The Russian government has long accused Bellingcat of being controlled by Western intelligence after it launched investigations into the poisonings of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and former double agent Sergei Skripal along with Russian armed forces activity in the EU. 

The ministry defended adding Bellingcat to the list “in accordance with the requirements of the current legislation of the Russian Federation.”

All individuals and organizations in the foreign agents list are required to follow financial transparency and to add a state-mandated boilerplate text explaining their status to everything they publish even on social media. 

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