On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first comment on the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov. He assured that the editor-in-chief of “Nowa Gazeta” would not be included in the list of “foreign agents” if he did not give reasons for it and did not break Russian law.
Putin said these words on Wednesday at the plenary session of the Russian energy security forum.
A journalist from the American television CNBC asked the President of Russia if she could assure that Muratov will not be considered a “foreign agent”. – If it does not violate Russian law and gives no reason to be recognized as such, it will not happen. On the other hand, if he breaks the law and covers himself with the Nobel Prize like a shield, it will mean that he is acting on purpose and wants to attract attention, Putin replied. He added that everyone should be aware that “regardless of the merits, the law must be respected.”
Congratulations from the Kremlin
Muratov was honored Nobel Peace Prize October 8. On the same day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov congratulated him, stressing that “he consistently works in accordance with his ideals, is devoted to them, and, moreover, he is talented and brave”. There was no information that Putin did it.
Muratov is the third Russian to win the Nobel Peace Prize, after the famous human rights activist Andrei Sakharov and former USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
In Russia, an increasing number of independent editorial offices are classified as “foreign agents”. The list includes the independent news portals Meduza and VTimes, the independent Internet television Dożd, as well as the Waznyje Istorii portal, operating since 2020 and registered in Latvia.
In August, the state media and internet regulator, the Roskomnadzor office, blocked websites related to the former Yukos head and Kremlin critic, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. One of these portals – MBCh Media – was one of the most cited independent news portals in Russia. The Russian editorial office of Radio Free Europe – Radio Swoboda also became a “foreign agent”.
Concerns about the financial reward
Following the decision of the Nobel Committee, discussions arose as to whether the Nobel Prize, which is a cash prize, would cause problems for Muratov in the form of recognizing the award for “receiving funds from abroad”, which is formally one of the criteria for recognizing someone as a “foreign agent”.
The second criterion is political activity. Critics of the “foreign agents” law indicate that both criteria are used broadly and selectively.
After awarding the Nobel Prize, Muratov said he would donate part of the prize to support the Russian media, considered by the authorities to be “foreign agents”.
Main photo source: SERGEI CHIRIKOV / PAP / EPA