This stamp has recently been granted to many journalists, independent media and human rights organizations. This means, among other things, that in everything they do, they must declare that they are considered a “foreign agent”.
In the case of Zakharov, who was described in October, the authorities were constantly hunting him. According to the journalist, they may have been watching him due to his BBC investigation of Evil Corp, a group of Russian hackers who accuse the FBI of stealing or extorting more than $100 million from Western banks, companies and institutions.
Lamborghini in Moscow
Video footage provided to Britain’s anti-cybercrime unit showed members of the group, including commander Maxim Yakubites, tearing up Lamborghini cars in central Moscow. Next, Yakubets casually talks to police officers next to his expensive car with the word VOR on his license plate: “THIEF”.
Zakarov and his colleagues at the BBC discovered that Yakupets and two other group leaders had their own offices in the Federation Tower, a complex of two skyscrapers in Moscow’s business district.
The Russian investigative journalist may have stepped on President Putin’s toes with an article about an illegitimate daughter he is said to have with his suddenly well-off ex-girlfriend. Zakharov also investigated Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.
More and more obstacles for reporters
Earlier this year, the Russian authorities The BBC’s Sarah Rainford is abroad, apparently due to annoyance with her coverage of Russia, where she has worked for nearly twenty years. I got last month VolkskrantTo hear a reporter Tom Finnick he It is no longer welcome in Russia. Other reporters complain that they face more and more bureaucratic obstacles in their work in Russia.
For Russian journalists who have been declared “foreign agents” because they are somehow in contact with Western organizations, it is even more difficult. They must file an account with the authorities for all their income and expenses, even their purchases of clothing. If they forget to indicate that they are already registered as a “foreign agent,” they face a ban or even a prison sentence.
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