Russian government declares The Moscow Times ‘undesirable organisation’


The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office declared The Moscow Times, a Netherlands-based independent media outlet reporting on Russia, an “undesirable organisation” on Wednesday.

The work of The Moscow Times “is aimed at discrediting the decisions of the leadership of the Russian Federation in both foreign and domestic policy”, the Prosecutor General’s Office wrote, adding that the outlet “consistently works with” with other media outlets deemed “undesirable” in Russia, including Meduza, The Insider, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The “undesirable” label bans The Moscow Times, which was deemed a “foreign agent” in November 2023, from operating in Russia and puts anyone cooperating with the publication at risk of criminal prosecution.

The outlet’s editor-in-chief, Samantha Berkhead, told Novaya Europe on Wednesday that the designation had come “as no surprise”, adding “it was clear that our journalism, which is telling the world the truth about Russia and its war on Ukraine, makes the Kremlin uncomfortable.”

“Our jobs are going to become more difficult. Anyone in Russia who interacts with us in any way will now be at risk of criminal prosecution. But we refuse to be silenced,” Berkhead continued.

Dutch media mogul Derk Sauer, who founded and still owns The Moscow Times, pledged on X to “continue with our work as usual: independent journalism”, which he said was “a crime in Putin’s Russia”.

Founded in 1992, The Moscow Times first operated as a print newspaper for English-language expats in the Russian capital, covering the country’s political and social life. In 2017, the print edition was ended and the publication moved entirely online. Since January 2022, The Moscow Times has published news in Russian as well as English.

Forced to leave Russia amid the Kremlin’s crackdown on independent media after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, The Moscow Times has been based in Amsterdam since 2023.

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