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The Moscow Times is deemed “undesirable” by Russia amid a growing crackdown on critical media.

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Russia’s Moscow The Moscow Times is a well-known online publication among Russian expatriates. The Russian prosecutor general’s office designated The Moscow Times as a “undesirable organization” on Wednesday, an important decision that highlights the increasing crackdown on dissent.

This classification imposes immediate restrictions on the newspaper’s operations within Russia and carries a five-year jail sentence threat for any Russians who work with the outlet. This action comes after The Moscow Times was labeled a “foreign agent” in November, subjecting it to strict financial oversight and requiring any published content to have a notice of the status.

In 2022, The Moscow Times moved its editorial activities outside of Russia because to a regulation that penalized the publication of any material that was thought to be critical of the Russian military and its actions in Ukraine. A few months after the conflict in Ukraine started, its Russian-language website was prohibited within Russia, despite the fact that it published in both English and Russian.

The Moscow Times began as a daily print newspaper in 1992 and rapidly gained popularity in hotels, restaurants, and other establishments frequented by expats, especially in the years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After switching to a weekly print version, the newspaper went fully digital in 2017.

The Russian government is using this latest action against The Moscow Times as part of a larger plan to stifle independent media and political dissent. Other well-known media organizations that have been designated as “undesirable” include the online news site Meduza and the independent daily Novaya Gazeta, whose editor Dmitry Muratov is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The Kremlin has not only targeted media outlets in its battle against dissent. Prominent opponents such dissidents Vladimir Kara-Murza and Ilya Yashin, as well as Alexei Navalny, who is well-known for his anti-corruption initiatives and outspoken criticism of President Vladimir Putin, have been imprisoned on a variety of crimes.

This crackdown is a reflection of Russia’s increasingly oppressive climate for political opposition and independent media, which has alarmed international observers over the country’s record on press freedom and human rights.

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