Russian President Vladmir Putin has signed a law that will declare all foreign media as foreign agents. According to Newsweek, this law extends from the news media to American restaurant chains including McDonald’s. The law will require all non-Russian media etc. to register as foreign agents. The extent of the potential complications that will come from being registered as a foreign agent is still unknown. While McDonald’s has routinely come under scrutiny in Russia, Mr. Putin’s retaliation has broad implications for many American and international interests.
In signing the bill as reported by CNBC, Mr. Putin has made a decidedly hostile move in a clear and direct effort to seek retribution for the U.S. Justice Department’s recent requirement. The Justice Department’s requirement called for RT, a television network paid for by the Russian state, to register as a foreign agent. These actions have led Mr. Putin to strike back and lash out at international news sources and other foreign businesses.
While the U.S. Justice Department’s requirement for RT to register as a foreign agent is largely formal, requiring little more than registering and maintaining accurate records, Russia’s icy leader has taken offense and is unamused. As told by USA Today, under Putin’s law, major networks such as CNN will be declared foreign agents and required to register in Russia as such.
The Russian President sees the Justice Department’s actions as an incendiary addition to the mounting pressures put on Russian media by the United States. According to Reuters, Mr. Putin is also lashing back in part against the larger issue of the claims against Russian media for interfering with the U.S. presidential election. Russian officials have went as far as to spin the Justice Department’s requirement as an attack on free speech. Russia’s new and retaliatory law went quickly into effect and can be reviewed in its entirety on Russia’s legislative database.
This kind of maneuvering is one of the latest developments in the ongoing chess game between Moscow, Washington, and Brussels. Mr. Putin’s adverse reaction to the requirements placed on the RT network mark an uptick in hostility between powers. The rivalry between Russia and the U.S. continues to deepen as the U.S. alleges that Russian efforts swayed the election while Russia claims infringement of free speech.
[Featured Image by Luca Bruno/AP Images]