Legislation has been passed in the Russian parliament that will make it compulsory for international media operating in the nation to declare as "foreign agents." The law, which can also be applied to those who are suspected of operating in the nation as spies are thought to have been enacted in response to the Russian state broadcaster RT being told to register as a Foreign Agent in the U.S. According to the BBC, it is thought that broadcasters such as the U.S backed Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio could be affected by the passing of the new law.

Amendments to the law were passed in parliament on Wednesday and it is thought it would apply to both online and offline news outlets.

A retaliatory move

Under the passing of the new law, those companies which don't comply could be fined, it's staff imprisoned and eventually be shut down from operating in the country. The passing of this new law is seen as an outright retaliation to the move that saw the Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT being forced to register as a foreign agent in the United States.

There have been years of accusations levelled at RT, it has been accused of being a "propaganda arm" of the Russian government. Following the 2016 election win of Donald Trump, Russian interference in the U.S has been under intense scrutiny following the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

During the months of hearings in relation to the alleged collusion scandal, it has been alleged that RT played a part in the spreading of information that would be unfavourable to the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump and vladimir putin met briefly at the Asia Summit in Vietnam last week, and from all accounts, the meeting was a friendly encounter.

This latest back and forth of retaliatory legislation could indicate a weakening of an already strained relationship between the U.S and Russia. Even though the law has been passed in the Russian parliament, it would still need to be signed into effect by the Russian President himself, it has been reported by the New York Times that Vladimir Putin said that this law may go too far.

Donald Trump has said on multiple occasions that he hopes that Russia and The United States could build a relationship that is free from the hostilities that we have seen over the years. But there has been a noticeable rise in tensions between the two world powers and the collusion claims have done nothing to thaw the already frosty relationship. A move like the passing of this law seems to indicate that the relationship between the U.S and Russia has some way to go before it can ever be described as friendly.