On April 25, 2022, a draft law on control over the activities of persons under foreign influence was submitted to the State Duma of the Russian Federation, which is aimed at improving the effectiveness of the regulation of the institute of foreign agents, taking into account the current challenges to the security and sovereignty of the Russian Federation.
The draft law defines that a foreign agent is a person who has received support and (or) is under foreign influence in other forms and carries out activities, the types of which are defined in the law. A foreign agent can be recognized as any Russian or foreign legal entity, regardless of its organizational and legal form, another association of persons or an individual, regardless of his citizenship or lack thereof, if such persons receive foreign support or are under foreign influence and carry out political activities or purposeful collection of information in the field of military-technical activities of Russia that can be used against the security of the Russian Federation, or disseminate messages and materials intended for an unlimited circle of persons (including using the Internet information and telecommunication network), or finance these types of activities.
Under foreign influence, it is proposed to understand the provision of support by a foreign source to a person and (or) the impact on a person, including through coercion, persuasion and (or) other means. Support is understood as the provision to a person by foreign sources of funds and (or) other property, as well as the provision to a person by a foreign source of organizational, methodological, scientific and technical assistance, assistance in other forms.
Foreign sources are recognized as foreign states, public authorities of foreign states, international and foreign organizations, foreign citizens, etc.
Under the types of activities carried out by a foreign agent, are understood: political activities; targeted collection of information in the field of military, military-technical activities of the Russian Federation; distribution of messages and materials intended for an unlimited circle of persons, and (or) participation in the creation of such messages and materials; other types of activities established in the draft law.
In order to inform citizens of the Russian Federation about which organizations and persons are foreign agents, it is envisaged to maintain a register containing also information about who is affiliated with foreign agents.
Foreign agents are required to report the presence of such a status to their employees, public authorities, to which they apply, lobbying their interests, and are required to label the materials they produce. All of these measures are directed to raise the awareness of citizens and officials about who and through what sources carries out political activities and tries to disseminate information among the citizens of the Russian Federation.
The status of a foreign agent also imposes certain restrictions on a person, in particular: an individual included in the register cannot be appointed to positions in public authorities, including filling positions in the state civil service and municipal service, being a member of an election commission, a referendum commission ; the inclusion of an official or a citizen in the register may be grounds for denial of access to state secrets; a foreign agent is not entitled to produce information products for minors; a foreign agent is not entitled to apply the simplified taxation system, etc.
Violation of the legislation of the Russian Federation on foreign agents entails administrative, criminal and other liability.
Nadmitov, Ivanov and Partners Law Firm advises on the law on persons under foreign influence.