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Russian Court Brands Baikal Protection Group 'Foreign Agent'

Environmental activist Marina Rikhvanova
Environmental activist Marina Rikhvanova
A Russian court has ordered an environmental group fighting for the protection of Lake Baikal to register as a "foreign agent."

On October 17, the court in Siberia's Irkutsk region agreed with prosecutors that the group had engaged in political activities while receiving funding from abroad and must register as a "foreign agent" in line with legislation Russia adopted last year.

The Baikal Environmental Wave group has been seeking the closure of a paper mill that has been polluting the world's largest freshwater lake for decades.

One of the group's leaders, Marina Rikhvanova, said prosecutors accused the group of engaging in political activities because of a protest it organized in January, before the paper mill was closed.

Rights groups say the so-called "foreign-agent" law is used to restrict the activities of civil society.

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, and