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The Insider and Bellingcat declared “undesirable” in Russia

The Russian General Prosecutor's Office has declared the activities of The Insider (Latvia), Bellingcat Ltd (Great Britain), Stichting Bellingcat (Netherlands), the Central and Eastern European Law Initiative Institute (CEELI) (Czech Republic) “undesirable” in Russia, reported state-run news agency TASS citing the agency's press service.

The Prosecutor's Office claims that the organizations’ activities constitute “a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system and security of the Russian Federation.”

The Office sent the information on the decision to the Ministry of Justice for adding the organizations to the list of undesirables. At present, there are 56 organizations on the list.

Earlier Putin signed a law amending the Criminal Code article on participation in the activities of «undesirable organizations» (Article 284.1 of the Criminal Code). Previously, only activities on the territory of Russia were punishable, but now the article establishes liability for participation in the activities of “undesirable organizations” abroad.

The Insider and Bellingcat have also been recognized in Russia as “foreign agents.” In addition, after the start of the war, Roskomnadzor demanded that Russian media exclusively use the phrase “special operation” in their coverage of the invasion of Ukraine. Since February 24, The Insider, as well as a number of other media outlets, have been blocked in Russia.

The Insider and Bellingcat conduct joint investigations. In 2021, an investigation by Bellingcat, The Insider and CNN, with the participation of Der Spiegel, about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny won a news and documentary Emmy Award for “outstanding investigative news reporting.” The Insider and Bellingcat obtained documents that show the FSB Internal Security Directorate admitting that the phone conversations used as evidence in the Navalny poisoning investigation belonged to active FSB officers.

One of the investigations conducted by Bellingcat and The Insider revealed that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who were accused by the UK of poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal, were indeed Russian secret service officers. This conclusion was supported by multiple documents and both direct and indirect evidence. Subsequently, the UK authorities confirmed the investigators' information about the third suspect involved in the poisoning. This marked the first time the British police officially identified the third Russian individual allegedly connected to the poisoning of the former GRU officer and his daughter.

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