The Russian Ministry of Justice has included eight Russian journalists in the list of media performing the functions of a foreign agent. Among them are the editor-in-chief of Open Media, Yulia Yarosh, and the editor-in-chief of the Project, Roman Badanin. Also today, the Prosecutor General’s Office recognized the publication “Project” founded by Mr. Badanin as undesirable. According to the department, the organization’s activities pose a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order and security of Russia.
Journalists were also included in the register of foreign agents:
- Maxim Glikin – Open Media;
- Petr Manyakhin – The Project;
- Olga Churakova – The Project;
- Maria Zheleznova – The Project;
- Yulia Lukyanova – The Project;
- Elizaveta Maetnaya – Radio Liberty (previously recognized as a foreign agent).
“A decision has been made to declare the activities of a foreign non-governmental organization Project Media, Inc. undesirable in the Russian Federation. (“Project Media”) (USA), ”the Prosecutor General’s Office said.
As stated on the Project’s website, it is an independent media that brings together investigative journalists and reporters. Among the materials of the publication – an investigation about the welfare of the son of Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, about the second wife of the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, about the demolition of a children’s camp near Gelendzhik for the sake of building “Putin’s palace”, about years of sexual harassment in an elite school at Moscow State University.
On June 29, searches were carried out at the Project’s journalists. Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov did not associate the searches with the revenge of law enforcement agencies for the investigations published by journalists. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that the searches took place as part of a criminal case of libel (part 5 of article 128.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) against businessman Ilya Traber. An investigation film about him was released in 2017.
In April, the Ministry of Justice entered the Internet publication Meduza, registered in Latvia, into the register of foreign media agents. The reason was the complaint received by Roskomnadzor by a member of the Moscow Public Monitoring Commission, Alexander Ionov. In May, the VTimes edition, which was created less than a year ago by former employees of the Vedomosti newspaper, was added to the register. After entering the register, Meduza reported financial problems and announced a collection of donations from readers, and VTimes announced its closure.
For more information about the searches of the Project’s journalists, see the article by Kommersant “Investigators are interested in investigators”.