May 25, 2021

Bling Defiantly!


Bling Defiantly!
"Foreign Agent." / Photograph by Haley Bader

There is a not-so-fresh trend in Russia: labeling nonprofits, individuals, and unregistered organizations as “foreign agents." But the trend has already begotten the next one, as a fashion innovator has come up with a swankier way to “report” one's newly minted status.

On April 23, Russian authorities designated Meduza, the leading Russian-language independent news website, a “foreign agent.” The term hearkens back to a 2012 law that has since been expanded to require certain organizations and politically active individuals to disclose whether they receive foreign funding. If applicable, these entities must include the “foreign agent” declaration in any promotional materials.

Shortly after Meduza leveled up to “foreign agent,” Putin enacted fines that could reach the equivalent of $650 US if a media agent neglected to self-report.

As any self-respecting defiant might ask herself: if you must comply with slapping an ugly label on something, why not do it with style?

The company Avgvst Jewelry jumped on the opportunity to show support for Meduza, along with the nasiliu.net Center for Assistance to Victims of Domestic Violence, which was also designated a foreign agent. The company has released a series of sexy bling that any proud foreign agent can wear. 

On May 13, Avgvst opened pre-orders for the decorations. It is now possible to purchase a delicately dangling chain necklace that proclaims “И Н О А Г Е Н Т” (“Foreign Agent”), or a simpler pendant stamped with the same. Avgvst jewelry founder Natalia Bryantseva hopes that the jewelry will take the designation from shameful to fashionable.

 

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