As is known, a new version of the law on foreign agents has been submitted to the State Duma. Now it will be called "On control over the activities of persons under foreign influence". The main innovation in it is that it is not necessary to receive money from abroad. A foreign agent can also be declared a person who acts from other motivations, but "falling under foreign influence".
In other words, anyone who is “under foreign influence” and whose activities will be recognized as “political” can become a foreign agent. Thus, there will be no clear criterion at all, any action can be qualified as a consequence of "falling under foreign influence." But this influence can be interpreted in any broad way. Let's say you're reading a new novel by Michel Houellebecq (or even Balzac or Dickens), watching a new movie by the Coen brothers, or listening to a new Red Hot Chili Peppers album, and this fact can easily be blamed on you. And try to disprove! That is why experts and bloggers are perplexed about this initiative and predict its consequences:
- While the hot phase of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is going on, the position of the authorities will be extremely tough, suppressing almost any public dissent.
- And the presence of real estate abroad, together with family members regularly residing there, will be considered a basis for recognition as a foreign agent? And then you can safely assign this status to even Shuvalov with Chemezov, even Valuev with Klishas...
- The authorities, apparently, have reached the peak of their capabilities, wanting to push through the law, where the stamp "foreign agent" will be distributed from a helicopter. What for?
- The law on foreign agents is becoming the main Russian normative act. It is he who now regulates the application of civil rights in the country.
- An interesting question arises - is it possible in modern Russia, in principle, not even an opposition, but, let's say, an acceptable level of freedom of speech? Or, to put it in simple terms, do you need to be completely silent, or can you still say something?
- Too much saturation of civil society inside and outside the country with honored and not very "foreign agents" can lead to the formation of a shadow political system in which "foreign agents" can form shadow parties and even fractions of these parties.
- In fact, all dissidents will be made foreigners. At the moment it is tens of millions. Potentially everything.
- The brilliant Ivan Andreevich Krylov two hundred years ago gave a legal justification for such laws in the fable "The Wolf and the Lamb": "You are to blame for the fact that I want to eat..."