News of the Day: 23 July 2021

RFE/RL: Russia’s Justice Ministry has added the independent Latvia-based media outlet The Insider to its list of “foreign agents,” along with five individual journalists including a freelance contributor to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The ministry listed the new entries in an update of its registry on July 23, bringing the total number of entities and individuals with the controversial designation to 34.

The Moscow Times: Russia added investigative news website The Insider to its registry of “foreign agents” Friday, a designation that risks cratering its business model. The Insider is best known for its work alongside U.K.-based Bellingcat in investigating the 2020 poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and the 2018 poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in Britain.

The Guardian: Russia has named a local partner of the Bellingcat investigative journalism collective as a “foreign agent” in an apparent act of revenge for helping reveal the Kremlin’s role in the Salisbury poisonings and assassination attempts by the security agencies. Russia’s justice ministry on Friday named the Insider, an investigative website, along with five journalists for other publications as “foreign agents”, a label that implied the news agencies and individual reporters were taking foreign money to influence Russian politics.

The Moscow Times: Jailed former journalist Ivan Safronov has said he will not make a plea bargain with Russian authorities over what he argues is an unfounded investigation into treason. Safronov’s lawyers said last month that investigators had pressured him to take a plea deal in exchange for a phone call to his mother on her birthday, an offer the ex-journalist rejected.

RFE/RL: Jailed former Russian journalist Ivan Safronov, who is charged with high treason, has slammed state authorities, including the judiciary, for their treatment of suspects and methods used in investigating espionage amid a wave of cases aimed at muzzling dissent.

Amnesty International: Danish Jehovah’s Witness Dennis Christensen continues to be imprisoned in Russia. His repeated requests to have his sentenced commuted have been rejected. His sentence expires in May 2022. During his imprisonment Dennis Christensen has been denied adequate medical care, and faced harassment and arbitrary reprimands. In March, the Kursk Regional Court found several reprimands unjustified. In June, Dennis Christensen was finally transferred to another penal colony for a planned medical examination. He is a prisoner of conscience, persecuted solely for exercising his freedom of religion and must be released immediately and unconditionally.

RFE/RL: The European Union has urged Russia to stop its “unabated crackdown” on independent media outlets, journalists, and civil-society organizations, calling the clampdown ahead of parliamentary elections in September “particularly worrisome.”

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