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Activist Alexander Ionov calls on Russian authorities to declare The Bell a ‘foreign agent’

Source: TASS

“Patriotic” activist Alexander Ionov sent an appeal to the Russian Attorney General’s Office requesting an audit of The Bell’s finances and for the news site to be declared a “foreign agent.”

“I have reason to believe that a number of companies and organizations in the U.S. sponsor an American legal entity [owned by] the founder of the publication, Elizaveta Osetinskaya,” Ionov told the Russian state news agency TASS.

According to Ionov, The Bell’s management firm is an American legal entity called Polestar Digital Ventures Inc., which Osetinskaya opened in the state of Delaware in 2017, after studying at Stanford University. Ionov claims that Osetinskaya’s firm is sponsored by Investigative Studios Inc., a company which, in turn, is funded by the U.S. authorities.

Update. In a statement, The Bell explained that Polestar Digital Ventures helped Investigative Studios arrange interviews with Russian officials and newsmakers for two documentary films produced for HBO and Amazon in 2017-2018. “The Bell’s management company is currently registered in Russia and does not receive foreign funding. The Bell continues to work as usual,” the statement underscored.

In the spring of 2021 Alexander Ionov filed a complaint against Meduza with Russia’s federal censor that resulted in our newsroom being labeled a “foreign agent.” Ionov also sent complaints to the Russian Attorney General’s Office about the investigative outlet iStories and the American university Bard College, the former was subsequently designated as a “foreign agent” and the latter blacklisted as an “undesirable organization.”

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