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Self-Exiled Russian Writer Shenderovich Fined For Not Complying With Foreign-Agent Status.

Viktor Shenderovich

Viktor Shenderovich

Well-known Russian writer Viktor Shenderovich, who is currently living outside of Russia, has been fined for "failing to comply with the status of a foreign agent."

Pavel Chikov, the chief of the legal defense organization Agora, wrote on his Telegram channel on August 2 that the Preobrazhensky district court in the Russian capital fined Shenderovich 10,000 rubles ($160) for not marking his online posts with a "foreign-agent" label.

"The decision will be appealed. That is what [Shenderovich's] lawyer Vladimir Voronin says from the courtroom," Chikov wrote.

Shenderovich, a columnist for The New Times, fled Russia for an unspecified country in January after a libel probe was launched against him at the request of businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of President Vladimir Putin.

Shenderovich, 63, has criticized Prigozhin for allegedly leading the private Russian military contractor Vagner Group, a paramilitary force that Western governments say the Kremlin has been using in conflicts in Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Mozambique, and the Central African Republic.

He was placed on the foreign-agent list by the Justice Ministry in December. Russia's foreign-agent laws require those designated to register with the authorities and label their content with an intrusive disclaimer or face administrative fines.

Kremlin critics say the foreign-agent designation brings up Soviet-era connotations that is intended to root out any independent civic activity in Russia.

Last month, Putin signed into law a bill expanding the definition of so-called "foreign agents" to include anyone who is "under foreign influence," a change that critics say will make it even easier for the state to target its domestic critics.

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