Dmitry Muratov, one of Russia’s best-known journalists, has been added to the country’s list of foreign agents, less than two years after the Kremlin praised principled journalism that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.
Muratov, a former editor of the now closed liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was included in a update Friday night to the Russian Justice Ministry’s record of journalists, politicians and activists who, according to Moscow, act on behalf of hostile states.
The foreign agent designation, which has been used repeatedly against critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin and opponents of his war in Ukraine, means Muratov will have to abide by strict rules about political activity. He also prevents her from participating in public life. Any mention of him in the Russian media or on social media must refer to his status.
According human rights observer“in Russia, the term foreign agent is equivalent to spy or traitor” and has been used “to smear and punish independent voices”.
The decision to accuse Muratov of being under undue foreign influence goes against the Russian state’s own prior assessment of his journalism. After Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov congratulated him and saying the veteran editor “consistently works in accordance with his own values, is committed to those values, is talented and courageous.”
Muratov received the Nobel Peace Prize together with the American journalist Maria Ressa for “their efforts to safeguard freedom of expressionwhich is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace”.
Since the start of its increasingly catastrophic war in Ukraine, Russia has virtually eliminated the country’s independent media, imposing harsh penalties on those deemed to be “bringing the Russian armed forces into disrepute.”
Many Russian journalists have been forced to go abroad to continue their work. Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta was forced to cease operations in Russia in April 2022, weeks after the start of the war, and has since been forcibly closed by the state, though it has continued to publish online.
Moscow also detained the Wall Street Journal journalist. Evan Gershkovic since March 29 on charges of espionage, of which no evidence has been presented. US President Joe Biden has brand The arrest, the first of an accredited correspondent on espionage charges since the end of the Cold War, is “totally illegal.”
In August, POLITICO journalist Eva Hartog was expelled from Russia after being denied a visa extension.
Earlier this week, the Nobel Foundation faced criticism of both Swedish and Ukrainian politicians after he decided to invite Russian ambassadors to attend this year’s award ceremony.