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Russian Environmental News Outlet Kedr Closes After ‘Foreign Agent’ Designation

Former editor-in-chief of Kedr Ivan Zhilin. Ivan Zhilin / Facebook

The independent environmental news outlet Kedr has shut down after being labeled a “foreign agent,” its founder said Monday.

Russia’s Justice Ministry added Kedr to its list of “foreign agents” in November for spreading “fake news” about the government's environmental policies and distributing content of other “foreign agents.”

“Kedr has been closed since the beginning of the year because the people we had interviewed started receiving threats [that they would also be labeled] foreign agents,” editor-in-chief Ivan Zhilin told the news website Mediazona.

“We can’t implicate them,” Zhilin was quoted as saying.

Since its launch in the spring of 2022, Kedr has published investigative reports about wildfires, landfills and the negative environmental impacts of the U.S.-Soviet arms race.

The outlet’s website currently leads to a page that reads “the project has been shut down.”

Zhilin said part of Kedr’s team would continue their work at another environmental news website, Smola, which was launched earlier last year.

Kedr is among a rapidly growing list of non-profits and news outlets that have closed down after being branded “foreign agents” by the Russian government. 

Organizations and individuals designated as “foreign agents” are subject to rigorous auditing and labeling requirements. 

Hundreds of journalists, activists and civil society figures have been branded foreign agents in recent years amid the Kremlin's far-reaching crackdown on independent media and the opposition. 

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