Russian authorities have seized the assets of Pyotr Kanayev, the chief editor of the leading business daily RBC, over a delayed payment of a fine for violation of Russia’s foreign agent law, the publication confirmed Thursday.
Kanayev had been fined 5,000 rubles ($66) for failing to add a “foreign agent” label next to a mention of Russia-based think tank SOVA in an article published by the business daily.
Representatives of Russia’s Federal Service of Court Bailiffs, the law-enforcement arm of Russia’s judiciary, confiscated Kanayev’s Moscow apartment and summer home after he allegedly delayed paying the fine.
“I receive a lot of such fines all the time and could miss one. Usually, they are automatically deducted from my salary,” RBC quoted Kanayev as saying.
“But I find the decision to arrest my apartment and summer house because of a debt of 5,000 rubles inexplicably excessive given the disproportionate scale of the violation and the punishment,” he added.
Russia’s “foreign agent” regulations, enforced since March 2021, require the media to specify if an organization mentioned in an article has been added to the country’s list of so-called foreign agents.
Violation of the law is punishable by a fine of up to 5,000 rubles for officials and up to 50,000 rubles ($660) for legal entities.
Russia’s “foreign agent” law has been used to target Kremlin critics, independent journalists and civil society members in recent years, requiring them to disclose their “foreign agent” status alongside any public mention of their name.