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Russian Election Watchdog May Be Closed
26.04.2013 08:54
Russian Election Watchdog May Be Closed

Russia's Golos (Voice) Association, an independent election monitoring NGO, was fined 300,000 rubles (around $10,000) for failing to register as a "foreign agent", and can even close in the near future.

      On Thursday, April 25, Moscow's Presnensky District Court ruled that Golos’ refusal to register as a "foreign agent" under new legislation is an administrative offense.

      Golos director Lilia Shibanova insists the organization has not received a cent from abroad since the new law came into force, and said the association will do all it can to challenge the court ruling. If no success, the only possible way is to disband the organization, she said, as it is nearly impossible to work under the "foreign agent" title, which is widely considered as a term for spying.

      According to the new NGO law, all non-commercial organizations involved in political activities and receiving financing from abroad must be registered as "foreign agents." The government has claimed the new NGO law is necessary to prevent the possibility of interference by foreign states in Russia's internal affairs.

      The Golos organization became well-known after making a big campaign for publicizing violations in federal and regional elections in recent years. It was also one of 11 Russian NGOs that sent a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights about the law back in February.

Author: Julia Alieva

Tags: Russian legislation NGO Russian law human rights in Russia  

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