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Russia blocks website of OVD-Info protest-monitoring group

By Reuters

MOSCOW -Russia’s communication watchdog has blocked the website of the OVD-Info protest-monitoring group, which has for years documented anti-Kremlin protests, following a court ruling, the group said on Saturday.

It said the ruling on restricting access to the cite was issued by a court in the Moscow region on Dec. 20. The website currently shows a message saying access to it is restricted on the basis of a federal law on information, information technologies and data protection.

A spokeswoman for the group, Maria Kuznetsova, told Reuters that neither the court not the watchdog had notified it about the move.

“It was unexpected for us,” she said.

Russia declared the OVD-Info group a “foreign agent” in September, in a move that critics say is designed to stifle dissent.

Moscow has recently labelled several outlets “foreign agents”, a legal designation used for what authorities say are foreign-funded organisations engaged in political activity.