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'Proekt' Investigative News Outlet Banned by Russia Closes Legal Entity

Russian journalist Maria Zholobova enters the police station in Moscow, Russia, June 29, 2021. Russian authorities recently raided homes of several investigative journalists and their family members, amid mounting pressure on Russia's independent media.

Russian investigative news outlet “Proekt” on Friday said it was closing a U.S.-registered legal entity a day after authorities in Russia banned its activities but said it would find a way to continue its investigations into Russia’s elite.

Russian authorities declared “Proekt” an “undesirable” organization on national security grounds on Thursday and banned its activities, in the latest blow against media which investigate areas the authorities say are off-limits.

The move was part of a wider crackdown ahead of September’s parliamentary election on media seen by the authorities as hostile and foreign backed. Proekt has published a series of deeply researched and unflattering investigations into Russia’s ruling elite.

“The company Project Media, Inc., registered in the United being liquidated and no longer has a financial relationship with any journalists working in Russia,” Proekt said in a statement posted to social media.

“However, we as journalists continue to believe that our work is important and needed by our motherland. We’ll announce separately in what form our journalistic collective will continue its work,” the statement said.

The closure and move by the authorities against the news outlet would not result in fewer journalistic investigations focused on Russia, said Proekt.

The Kremlin has previously denied that any media crackdown is underway and has described Russia’s media market as vibrant with many different outlets to choose from.