Advertising and foreign agents: what participants in the advertising market need to know

On February 28, 2024, a law banning advertising on information resources of foreign agents, as well as on placing advertising of foreign agents, was adopted in the third reading and sent for approval to the Federation Council. It is most likely that the law will be approved by the Federation Council and signed by the President, which means it will enter into force this spring.

We have prepared an overview of the changes that the adoption of the law will entail.

Who are foreign agents?

The meaning of the term “foreign agent” is very broad. This is a person who has received support from a foreign state and/or is otherwise under foreign influence, while such person carries out political and/or informational activities. The types of such activities are specified in the law, including participation in rallies, public appeals to authorities, dissemination of opinions about decisions of authorities, and influencing public opinion. Thus, bloggers and opinion leaders can easily find themselves in the register of foreign agents.

Support is understood to constitute any assistance (financial, technical, or informational) from any foreign state, its citizens and organizations. Importantly, persons associated with foreign agents who receive financing from them are also foreign agents from the point of view of the law.

Fortunately, advertisers and advertising distributors will not have to determine whether a counterparty meets the criteria of a foreign agent. It is only necessary to regularly check the updated version of the register of foreign agents on the Ministry of Justice’s website. A person is officially considered a foreign agent the next day after being included in the register.

Where exactly is it forbidden to place ads?

The wording of the law assumes the widest possible interpretation of the concept of “information resources of a foreign agent”, with the ban applying to advertising on websites, Telegram and YouTube channels, in VKontakte and in any profiles on social networks and messenger services associated with foreign agents.

When concluding an advertising contract, it is necessary to compare the official name of the counterparty with the data from the register on the website of the Ministry of Justice. If it is not expected that a contract will be concluded (for example, you simply have a discussion in a messenger), you should definitely find out information about your counterparty (the full name of an individual or the full name and state registration number of an organization).

Advertising the resources of foreign agents

Changes will also be made to Article 7 of the law “On Advertising”, so that advertising of resources of foreign agents will become illegal. At the same time, as the authors of the bill explain, quoting foreign agents in the media with a view to providing information is not prohibited. It is, however, forbidden to mention their resources for advertising purposes, in order to attract an audience. Thus, when concluding an advertising distribution contract, you also need to make sure that your counterparty is not in the Ministry of Justice’s register.


The advertiser and the advertising distributor will bear responsibility for violations. There are no plans to introduce new provisions into the Criminal Code or the Administrative Offences Code – it is assumed that all the necessary rules already exist in current legislation.

For foreign agents, the fine for advertising in violation of the new provisions of the law will be calculated according to paragraph 8 of article 19.34 of the Administrative Offences Code. The fine may amount to 500 000 rubles. A three-time violation within a year will entail criminal liability under paragraph 2 of article 330.1 of the Criminal Code.

The fine for advertisers who place ads on the resources of foreign agents will be calculated according to paragraph 1 of Article 14.3 of the Administrative Offences Code, and may amount to 500 000 rubles.

In a case of advertising the resources of foreign agents, the regulator Roskomnadzor will issue a warning to the information resource, and failure to comply with the warning will entail a fine of up to 300 000 rubles. according to Article 19.5 of the Administrative Offences Code.

It should be noted that previous advertising of foreign agents’ resources / placing advertising on their resources (before the law comes into force) does not entail any liability. However, after the law comes into force, you need to make sure that you do not have any current advertising contracts with foreign agents. If possible, it is better to remove previously placed ads that do not meet the new requirements in order to eliminate all risks.

Vera Zotova
Senior Associate, PhD in Law

+7 931 210 50 03
St. Petersburg

Olga Nechaeva
Junior Associate

+7 921 639 65 71
St. Petersburg