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New Limitations on Foreign Participation in Russian Mass Media

On 14 October 2014 a new law was adopted amending the Russian Federal Law “On Mass Media”, under which starting from 1 January 2016 foreign participation in the Russian mass media will be significantly limited. In particular, starting from that date, unless an international treaty provides otherwise, foreign natural persons as well as foreign states, international organizations, organizations controlled by them, stateless persons, Russian citizens who also have citizenship of another country shall be prohibited from founding, owning, managing or controlling more than 20% in the charter capital of the participant/shareholder in the founder or editorial board of a mass media. Starting from 1 January 2017 similar limitations (under certain conditions) will be also applicable to foreign companies and to Russian companies, in which foreigners hold more than 20 of the charter capital. In case of violations of these rules, participants/shareholders of the founder or editorial board of a mass media shall be deprived of most of their shareholders’ rights, including voting rights, and any transactions leading to violation of these rules shall be deemed to be null and void.