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French national arrested in Russia for failing to provide 'foreign agents' registration

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 6, 2024 8:53 PM 1 min read
Laurent Vinatier, a French national who was arrested in Russia on June 6, 2024, in an undated photo. (Laurent Vinatier/LinkedIn)
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A French citizen was arrested in Moscow on June 6 on charges that he failed to register as a "foreign agent" with relevant authorities, the Russian state-run media outlet TASS reported.

TASS claimed, citing sources, that it was Laurent Vinatier, who holds a PhD and reportedly works for the Swiss Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), which HD then confirmed to Politico.

"We are working to get more details of the circumstances and to secure Laurent's release," HD said in a written statement to Politico.

The "foreign agents" designation requires people and entities who allegedly receive "support" from abroad to place a disclaimer in all of their publishing and mandates strict financial reporting. It is broadly seen as a means to repress domestic opposition.

The independent Russian news agency Agentstvo reported that Vinatier had visited Russia several times previously, including after the full-scale invasion. He is also the author of several books on Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus.

Russia has arrested numerous Western citizens since the beginning of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and subsequent crackdown on human rights in the country, including two journalists with U.S. citizenship.

Russia detains 2 journalists on ‘extremism’ charges, accuses them of having worked with Navalny
Two Russian journalists were detained on “extremism” charges in Russia on April 28 for having allegedly worked for a group founded by the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

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