Navalny emerged as a force in Russian politics in 2008 [File: Dmitri Chirciu/Anadolu]

Russian officials declared a non-profit organisation founded by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a staunch critic of President Vladimir Putin, a “foreign agent”, the justice ministry said on its website.

Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), which often publishes investigations into state officials, will now be subject to increased oversight and will have to present itself as a “foreign agent” on official documents.

Russia started a controversial list of foreign agent organisations, which in Russian implies spying for a foreign government, in 2012. This has led to many of the groups, including highly respected human rights organisations, closing down.

The group’s director Ivan Zhdanov said the organisation and its employees “never received foreign funding”,

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