New polling by russia’s state-owned russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM) suggests that the authorities are successfully using the “foreign agent” designation as a tool to manipulate public opinion behind the state’s anti-West, pro-war narratives, the UK Defense Intelligence reports.
On September 26, 2023, VTsIOM reported the results of a poll of russians’ attitudes towards people and organizations registered as “foreign agents”. VTsIOM claimed 61% of those surveyed said that they considered “foreign agents” to be “traitors” who “disseminate lies” about russia.
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Russia has broadened the foreign agent legislation since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The measures significantly narrow the information space within russia, making it increasingly difficult to articulate any viewpoint, including dissenting about the war, which deviates from the official line.