E.g. Wikipedia gives as example:

Levada Center, Russia's only independent polling agency, received between 3 and 1.5% of its total budget from abroad.[27] It was issued with a public warning that it would be eligible under the law.[27] Levada said it suspended foreign funding in 2013.[28] In 2016, the polling agency was named a foreign agent, barring it from work on the upcoming election.[28][29] Levada's director stated that the designation may mean that Levada would be unable to continue its work as a pollster.[30]

So even 1.5% foreign funding is enough to qualify as foreign interference, and thus a foreign agent under Russian law or regulations? It's unclear from Wikipedia if there is an official threshold.

  • There is no threshold, all that matters is what the regime decides.
    – Alice
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 15:20

2 Answers 2


According to a Wikipedia article in Russian (they cite specific legislation), there are mostly two criteria:

  1. Participate in political activity
  2. Receive funding (or any property) from foreign governments, companies, persons, or even persons without any citizenship

There does not appear to be any threshold, though you may want to check the actual law (which is tricky, given it is spread across several acts and amendments).


I have not been able to find the specific law, but the BBC published an article earlier today in which the report on an updated version of the foreign agents law. Regarding the earlier version they write:

The "foreign agent" label already applies to certain media organisations and NGOs which engage in politics and receive funding from abroad.

However, the first "foreign agent" law, introduced in 2012, targeted non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including charities and civil society groups, which get foreign funding and engage in political activity in Russia.

Regarding the current update, the BBC writes:

The media law was steered through parliament's lower house - the Duma - by MPs Leonid Levin and Pyotr Tolstoy.

Mr Levin explained that for an individual to be labelled a "foreign agent" two criteria must be valid: they must be producing or spreading material from a "foreign agent" media source, and they must be getting foreign funding.

He said that retweeting "foreign agent" news would only make an individual a "foreign agent" too if he or she was also receiving foreign funding.

So it seems one of the most important criteria is the receiving of foreign funding. The absence of specific numbers in these articles (e.g. also this Reuters article from 2017) lead me to believe that any foreign funding may be enough to be labeled as a foreign agent.

  • 2
    I'm not sure why this was downvoted (by someone) without any comment as to what may be wrong with this answer... especially given that another answer based on the Russian wikipedia says the same thing... Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 17:58

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