Russia on Friday banned investigative newspaper Bellingcat and its main local partner from operating in the country.
A statement from Russia’s Justice Ministry said the Amsterdam-based outlet and its partner The Insider “pose a threat to […] security of the Russian Federation.” This prohibits Bellingcat from operating in Russia and makes cooperation with them illegal for Russian organizations.
Christo Grozev, who leads Bellingcat’s work on Russia, said in a Tweeter Friday that the decision “will incriminate any collaboration or even reference to our work in Russia”.
Eliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat interrogates the decision, as the outlet has “no legal, financial or personnel presence, so it is unclear how Russia plans to enforce this.” The same goes for The Insider, which is legally headquartered in Latvia in order to be protected from Russian authorities.
Bellingcat was established as an independent network of investigators in 2014. It has won widespread acclaim for a series of exclusives, including its investigation into the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. The group has also played a key role in documenting war crimes in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion.
Bellingcat and The Insider have been added to a list of NGOs considered “undesirable” in Russia, Russian media TASS reported. The list now has 56 organizations.