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Russia Adds Transparency International To Foreign Agents List

MOSCOW -- The Russian Justice Ministry has added Transparency International Russia to its list of organizations designated as "foreign agents."

The ministry's announcement on April 7 brought the number of nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations listed as foreign agents to 50.

President Vladimir Putin signed a law in 2012 that requires NGOs that receive foreign funding and are deemed to be engaged in political activities to register as organizations "performing the functions of a foreign agent."

Rights activists, Kremlin critics, and Western governments say the designation deliberately and unfairly suggests the groups are involved in espionage.

They see it as part of a campaign to silence dissent and rein in civil society during Putin's third presidential term.

Also on April 7, a court in the Volga region city of Samara ordered a local NGO, the Ecological Training Center, to pay a 150,000 rubles ($2,750) fine for refusal to register as a foreign agent.