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Russia Outlaws The Moscow Times as 'Undesirable' Organization


Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has labeled The Moscow Times as “undesirable,” a designation that bans Russians from working with or having links to the organization, with criminal prosecution for violations.

“The work of the outlet is aimed at discrediting the decisions of the leadership of the Russian Federation in both foreign and domestic policy,” the office said in a statement.

The office also accused The Moscow Times of “publications containing unreliable socially significant information aimed at discrediting the activities” of the government regarding the war in Ukraine.

The “undesirable” designation bans The Moscow Times’ work inside Russia, puts staff members at risk of jail time, and criminalizes engagement with the outlet.

Russians have even been fined for reposting web links and articles published by "undesirable organizations," according to the independent Mediazona news website.

Of course, we will continue with our work as usual: independent journalism. That's a crime in Putin's Russia, The Moscow Times' founder Derk Sauer said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Moscow introduced its “undesirable” list in 2015 to crack down on foreign NGOs and ban Russians from working with or donating to them.

Authorities have since used the law on “undesirable” organizations to target independent news outlets, human rights groups, environmental organizations and educational institutions.

Editors' Note

The Moscow Times was founded in 1992 in Russia with the mission of delivering independent, high-quality news about the country, newly emerged from the Soviet Union, to English speakers.

For over 30 years, we have stayed true to this mission, expanding with a Russian-language service in January 2022.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine — and the subsequent passage of repressive wartime censorship laws — forced our newsroom into exile. 

The labeling of The Moscow Times as “undesirable” is the latest of many efforts to suppress our reporting on the truth in Russia and its war in Ukraine, including blocking our website and naming us a “foreign agent.”

We join a long list of high-quality independent media that have also been named “undesirable,” including Meduza, Dozhd, Novaya Gazeta Europe, The Insider, IStories, Proekt, Doxa and more.

This designation will make it even more difficult for us to do our jobs, putting reporters and fixers inside Russia at risk of criminal prosecution and making sources even more hesitant to speak to us. 

We refuse to give in to this pressure. We refuse to be silenced.

We are counting on the support of all of you, our readers, to help us continue our work and defy the Kremlin.

Donate to The Moscow Times

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

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