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Russian lawmakers propose strengthening penalties for failure to comply with ‘foreign agent’ requirements

A group of Russian State Duma lawmakers have submitted a draft law toughening penalties for individuals and media outlets recognized as “foreign agents” that fail to comply with the stipulations of that status. 

In accordance with the bill, individuals considered foreign agents can face criminal liability for failing to apply to be included in the relevant database or failing to submit reports on their activities to the authorities. The proposed punishments include fines ranging up to 300,000 rubles ($4,100) or up to two years annual salary, community service or force labor, or up to five years in prison.

The lawmakers proposed similar penalties for media recognized as foreign agents that violate operational procedure, albeit a lighter prison sentence — up to two years behind bars (or a fines ranging up to 300,000 rubles or up to two years annual salary, or community service or forced labor).

According to the bill, criminal punishment would only apply to the heads of media outlets and individuals who previously received administrative sentences for similar violations. However, individuals accused of gathering information on Russia’s military and technical activities will face criminal charges immediately.

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