The Investigative Committee of the Tver Region opened a criminal case under the article on “failure to fulfill the duties of a foreign agent” (Part 2 of Article 330.1 of the Criminal Code) against the coordinator of the movement of observers “Golos” Artem Vazhenkov. Human rights activist Pavel Chikov writes about this. This is the first criminal case in Russia under this article.
Vazhenkov was included in the list of “foreign agents” in 2021, immediately after the elections to the State Duma. He left Russia and decided not to comply with the law, in particular not to mark his posts. In 2022, Vazhenkov was fined twice by the court. The first time – for 10 thousand rubles due to the lack of marking “foreign agent” in the post on Instagram, the second time – for 50 thousand rubles also due to non-marking, but this time the post in the Telegram channel.
For “violation of the procedure for the activities of a foreign agent, committed by a person after he was brought to administrative responsibility,” Vazhenkov faces up to two years in prison.
The law on “foreign agents” appeared in Russia in 2012. He allowed the Ministry of Justice to recognize non-profit organizations as “foreign agents” if they receive funding from abroad and are engaged in political activities. The criteria by which such activities are determined are not clearly defined in the law, which allows the authorities to prosecute organizations working in the field of education, culture, healthcare, ecology, and protection of human rights. Subsequently, it became possible to recognize the media and individuals as “foreign agents”.
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