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Russia declares top journalist and video blogger “foreign agents”

April 2 (Reuters) – Russia has declared a top journalist, video blogger and six other media figures “foreign agents”, the latest in a series of such moves that critics say are aimed at stifling dissent.

The expanded list, released Friday night by the Justice Ministry, included Elizaveta Osetinskaya, a former editor of several Russian business newspapers that have published information about the business interests of people close to President Vladimir Putin.

The term “foreign agent” has negative Soviet-era connotations and subjects those listed to strict financial reporting requirements. It also requires them to prefix anything they post with a disclaimer stating that they are foreign agents.

The list also included Maria Borzunova, a journalist with the independent channel TV Rain (Dozhd), herself declared a “foreign agent” last August and suspended from work after Russia blocked access to her website in March.

Evgeny Ponasenkov, a writer and video blogger known for his off-the-cuff witty remarks aimed at the government on social media and talk shows on state TV channels, has also been branded a “foreign agent”.

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Reuters reporting; Editing by Alison Williams

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.