Putin announces Great Russian Encyclopaedia to replace unreliable Wikipedia

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The amended law, signed by President Vladimir Putin on December 2, gives Russian authorities the power to label reporters who work for officially listed "foreign agent" organizations and receive financial or other material support from them as foreign agents themselves.

Reuters reports the law was pitched as a way to aid Russian developers in competing with foreign tech firms, and to also save consumers the time and effort required to download software after purchasing a new device.

The new law would in theory cover anyone who "distributes information" and receives any funding from overseas, which could affect independent journalists and bloggers receiving grants and scholarships.

Russian Federation has introduced tougher internet laws in recent years, requiring search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services and social networks to store user data on servers in the country.

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The bill's authors said it's meant to "perfect" existing legislation on foreign agents that covers NGOs and media organizations. According to a document published on the Russian government website, this new law will come into force with immediate effect.

Russian Federation says it wants the law as a tit-for-tat mechanism if its journalists are defined as foreign agents in the West.

Foreign organizations like the MacArthur Foundation have shuttered their offices in Russian Federation in recent years in response to the foreign agent law.

Russian Federation first passed legislation allowing media organisations to be slapped with the label in 2017 after Kremlin-funded RT television was declared a foreign agent in the US.