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Russians who left the country can be designated ‘foreign agents,’ says Senator Andrey Klimov

Source: Meduza

Senator Andrey Klimov, head of Federation Council Committee for the Defense of State Sovereignty, thinks that Russian citizens who left the country can be considered ‘foreign agents’ — a suspect category under current Russian law.

Both TASS and RIA Novosti report that Klimov was speaking specifically of people who left Russia during its invasion of Ukraine, and especially since the start of mobilization on September 21:

If we read carefully the law concerning the control over persons under foreign influence, a person who went abroad — isn’t such a person under foreign influence? Certainly. And if that person signed a written statement, saying that they condemn everyone here, or something along those lines, they have committed a political act — a political act under foreign influence. Does this law apply to them? Easily.

Klimov explained the implications of the law:

I wouldn’t entrust them with any work in the government sphere. I would recommend not voting for them, for any post at all. I would be extremely surprised if such people began to teach in state universities or public schools.

It isn’t clear what kind of a “written statement” Klimov was referring to. Last summer, Latvia required Russians entering the country to sign a letter condemning the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Earlier, in March, the Bank of Georgia also required Russian clients to sign similar statements before opening an account.

The Kremlin press service says that the president has no position on this question, and that Klimov “perhaps” expressed his personal opinion.

In 2022, the Russian ‘foreign agent’ law was changed in such a way that this designation could be attached not just to people receiving foreign money, but to anyone found to be under a “foreign influence.”

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