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Russia Blocks Independent News Outlet’s Website

Russia has labeled a number of high-profile news sites "foreign agents" in recent months. Piotr Kovalev / TASS

Russia has blocked the website of independent media outlet Readovka after it published an investigation into the alleged hidden wealth of a parliamentarian.

The ruling comes in the midst of an escalating crackdown against independent media outlets, which has seen popular independent outlets such as the Meduza news site and the Dozhd broadcaster labeled “foreign agents” in recent months.

“The Readovka website has been added to the register of banned websites,” a statement from the Readovka editorial board said Monday. 

It added that the decision was linked to a long-running legal battle with State Duma deputy Dmitry Sablin.

Sablin, a member of the ruling, pro-Kremlin United Russia party, had previously sued Readovka on two occasions over articles claiming he secretly owned an undeclared yacht and a stake in a Moscow region farm alongside the regional governor.

In its statement, Readovka’s publisher Alexei Kostylov said the outlet had already complied with a previous ruling to take down the original article and social media posts relating to Sablin’s alleged ownership of the yacht.

“But in modern Russia, even complying with all the requirements does not guarantee security for media outlets,” he added.

Kostylov said he will appeal the decision. Meanwhile, the website has switched to a new domain which remains accessible in Russia.

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