Russia Going Dark After Putin Takes Action

( With a possible Biden/Putin meeting coming in June, the situation in Russia has grown more volatile.

Alexey Kovalev, investigative editor for Meduza reports that demonstrations in support of jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny have resulted in a state crackdown against independent media outlets.

“[I]n a simple line of text issued by a nameless bureaucrat in Russia’s Ministry of Justice, my work as a journalist was undone,” Kovalev writes at “Meduza, the news website where I have worked as an investigative editor since 2019—one of only a small handful of independent Russian media outlets—was officially classified as a “foreign agent” by the Russian state, effectively shutting us down.”

This “foreign agent” classification may seem inconsequential to the West, but in Russia, the connotation is catastrophic.

While Meduza is still allowed to publish, the “foreign agent” label is squeezing the publication not only of money, but sources as well.

“Most of our advertisers—which included Russian state-owned companies and international corporations—have already fled,” writes Kovalev. “Important sources have refused to talk to us for fear of association with a so-called ‘foreign agent,’ a term that has strong negative connotations in Russia suggesting espionage and treason. Our business was gone overnight.”

But it isn’t just Meduza.

According to Kovalev, Russia has been cracking down on other independent news outlets as well.

“Also this April, Moscow police raided the newsroom of DOXA, a student magazine, and the homes of its editors, charging four of them with “involving minors in unauthorized protests” and forcing them under house arrest. A few days earlier, officers from Russia’s Investigative Committee supported by an assault team from the Federal Security Service searched the newsroom of IStories, an investigative start-up, and the home of its editor, Roman Anin. The offense in question was an investigative report Anin published in 2016 in Novaya Gazeta, another embattled independent newspaper, about a lavish yacht gifted to now ex-wife of Igor Sechin, the CEO of the state-owned oil company Rosneft.”

Kovalev writes the crackdown on journalists has included police raids, searches of newsrooms, and arrests.

Perhaps the American journalists who claim they are under constant threat here in the US should gain a bit of perspective.