What is it?

Foreign agent is a status under which some people, NGOs, and media organisations are forced to be registered.

  • Foreign agents are required to label everything they publish, including in social media, with a disclaimer indicating their status. The name itself has very negative connotations, suggesting spying,
  • They are subject to an audit scrutiny every 6 months,
  • It is impossible for the agents to teach or spread any information among minors, receive state funding, and fund political parties;

Non-compliance may lead to 5 years in prison and full organisational liquidation.

A woman holding a poster Freedom to Press. Image: Denis Kaminev/AP Photo/picture alliance via DW

How is it acquired?

The people are forced to register themselves on their own if they fulfil the requirements. If it’s not done, the status is assigned by the Ministry of Justice, no court decision is needed. The status is given if, 1) an entity is involved in any political activity or gathers any information that can be used by foreign entities against Russia, and 2) receives foreign money, and (or) is under “foreign influence”.

Loading YouTube player ...

Propaganda tool

However resemblant it might seem with the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), in practice the law is very different.

The name similarity has been extensively overused by the Russian propaganda, suggesting that if America has got such a law, then there’s nothing wrong with having one in Russia. At the same time, In Russian, foreign agent (ru: иностранный агент) implies “a spy”. Such label, apart from direct limitations, discourages all other organisations to collaborate. Additionally, working or quoting a foreign agent may affect your organisation as well.

To learn more:

Related articles

Support us

Our media platform would not exist without an international team of volunteers. Do you want to become one? Here's the list of currently opened positions:

Explore all 11 positions

Is there any other way you would like to contribute? Let us know:

We talk about the current problems of Russia and of its people, standing against the war and for democracy. We strive to make our content as accessible as possible to the European audience.

Do you want to cooperate on content made by the Russian standing against the war?

  • Our team of writers, journalists and researchers will be happy to cooperate with you on new content.
  • As our content is under creative commons, we are able to allow you to publish it on your platform (with attribution).
More info for media

We want to make people of Russia, who stand for peace and democracy, heard. We publish their stories and interview them in Ask a Russian project.

Are you a person of Russia or know someone who would like to share their story? Please contact us. Your experience will help people understand how Russia works.

We can publish your experience anonymously.

Tell your story

Our project is ran by international volunteers - not a single member of the team is paid in any way. The project, however, has running costs: hosting, domains, subscription to paid online services (such as Midjourney or Fillout.com) and advertising.

Our transparent bank account is 2702660360/2010, registered at Fio Banka (Czech republic). You can either send us money directly, or scan one of the QR codes bellow in your banking app:

10 €

QR code to donate 10 €
Donate 10 €

20 €

QR code to donate 20 €
Donate 20 €

40 €

QR code to donate 40 €
Donate 40 €

60 €

QR code to donate 60 €
Donate 60 €

Note: The QR codes work only when you scan them directly from your banking app.

Our stand on the Russian invasion to Ukraine

Russia started the war against Ukraine. This war is happening from 2014. It has only intensified on February 24th 2022. Milions of Ukrainians are suffering. The perpetrators of this must be brought to justice for their crimes.

Russian regime tries to silence its liberal voices. Russian people against the war exist - and the Russian regime tries its best to silence them. We want to prevent that and make their voices heard.

Connection is crucial. The Russian liberal initiatives are hard to read for European public at times. The legal, social and historical context of Russia is not always clear. We want to share information, build bridges and connect the liberal Russia with The West.

We believe in dialogue, not isolation. The oppositional powers in Russia will not be able to change anything without the support of the democratic world. We also believe that the dialogue should go both ways.

The choice is yours. We understand the anger for the Russian crimes. It is up to you whether you want to listen to the Russian people standing against this.