What is a foreign agent?

While reading different materials on the website of FNF Russia and Central Asia, one can spot a note that a person or organization is a foreign agent. Here is a short explainer on the issue.

Russian foreign agent law was adopted in 2012, subsequently getting many additions, the latest in 2020. Initially, the law only applied to NGOs, but now it is extended to individuals, too. 

In 2021 the state started actively using this law. If by June of 2021 there were only five individuals labeled foreign agents, by the end of the year their number rose to 85. With the main criteria for becoming a foreign agent being a money transfer from abroad, more and more people are falling into this category. Sometimes, it is done artificially with ad-hoc transfers from unclear sources. There are also cases of labeling without a direct transfer for people who, for example, were working a lot with foreign foundations, including ours. 

Foreign agents have to write quarterly reports on all their spendings and put a 24-words all-caps remark in every post. This status makes life harder not only for the people labeled. Every public mention of a "foreign agent" must be provided with a remark on their status. If not, the state will impose a fine.

Read more about foreign agents law and its implications here.