Russian officials on Friday branded Nobel Prize-winning journalist Dmitri Muratov a “foreign agent”, a move often aimed at critics of Kremlin policies.
Russian news agencies quoted the Ministry of Justice as saying Muratov, editor of independent newspaper Novaia Gazeta and co-laureate of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, was among several Russian nationals added to the list.
So-called foreign agents have been subjected to police searches and other punitive measures. While Muratov is still in Russia, many on the list have left the country since the February 2021 invasion of Ukraine, called a “special military operation” by the Kremlin.
The Ministry of Justice stated that Muratov “created and disseminated material (produced by) foreign agents and used it to spread negative opinions about Russia’s foreign and domestic policies on international platforms”.
Under Russian law, individuals and organizations that receive funding from abroad can be declared foreign agents, which can undermine their credibility with the Russian public. Those deemed foreign agents must mark their published work with a notice of their status.
Novaia Gazeta and Muratov have gained reputations abroad for investigative reporting often critical of the Kremlin.
Muratov later put his Nobel medal up for sale, saying the proceeds would be used to help refugee children from Ukraine.
Novaia Gazeta suspended publication in 2022 in response to legislation imposing severe penalties for discrediting the military operation in Ukraine and Russian soldiers. Many of its journalists have come together in a new publication in Latvia.
Other Russian nationals added to the list of foreign agents on Friday were another pro-Ukrainian journalist, an anti-war comedian and a historian of Chechnya, where Russia has cracked down on insurgents in two post-Soviet wars.
Some prominent dissidents in Russia have been arrested, including anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalni.