MOSCOW – President Vladimir Putin signed a series of laws on Wednesday that give Russia new powers to restrict US Social media giants label individuals as “foreign agents” and take action against the disclosure of the personal information of their security officers

The laws, which also introduce new restrictions on protests, provide for a year of constitutional reforms that allow 68-year-old Putin to run for two more six years in the Kremlin instead of stepping down in 2024, as was required by law / p>

Other reforms, such as one that grants former presidents lifelong immunity from prosecution, have led analysts to advise on his plans as Moscow’s relations with the West have come under renewed pressure due to the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny

One of Wednesday’s laws allows Russia to block or restrict access to websites that “discriminate” against its media This is part of a campaign under Putin to strengthen Russia’s “sovereignty” on the Internet that has fueled fears of Chinese-style stealthy controls

Twitter is currently calling some Russian media outlets “state-affiliated media”, a move that Moscow opposed. Supporters of the law cited complaints about prejudice from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

A second law provides for heavy fines of up to 20% of sales in Russia in the previous year for websites that repeatedly fail to remove prohibited content, which YouTube and Facebook often have not done according to Russian lawmakers

A third law prohibits the disclosure of personal data of Russian security officers, records that have sometimes been leaked online and used by investigative journalists to track secret operations

Earlier this month, the investigation website Bellingcat used flight records and other data to identify a group of suspected federal security agents whom Navalny had accused of poisoning him in August, which Moscow denied

Other new laws introduced jail sentences of up to two years for online defamation, as well as new regulations that would prohibit the funding of protests by “foreign agents” and allow rallies to be banned due to emergencies

Another law gave the authorities new powers to mark individuals as “foreign agents” and detain them for five years if they fail to properly report their activities

Vladimir Putin

World News – CA – Putin aims at US. Social media, secret agent leaks and protests with new laws