Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a pair of bills Monday, one of which will require all consumer electronic devices sold in the country to be pre-installed with Russian software, while the other will register individual journalists as foreign agents.
Government officials say the law will help Russian IT firms compete with foreign companies, which dominate Russia’s mobile phone market, Reuters reported.
Putin said the government will create a list of Russian applications that would need to be installed on smartphones and computers
Another law signed by Putin Monday is a bill that gives the government the right to register bloggers, journalists and social media users as foreign agents.
The bill is an extension of an existing law adopted in response to the U.S. Justice Department’s 2017 decision to label the Russian state-funded network RT as a foreign agent.
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The new law applies to anyone who distributes content produced by media outlets registered as foreign agents and receives payments from abroad. Individuals registered as foreign agents will be subject to additional government scrutiny.
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The move has been criticized by many in Russia for restricting freedom of expression in the country even further and allowing the authorities to crack down on dissent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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