Election Watchdog says no to foreign agent tag

Moscow, April 25 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia’s Golos Association, a non-government organisation which monitors elections and campaigns for voters’ rights, has refused to register itself as a “foreign agent” as required by a new NGOs law.

Golos Association is the first NGO to face administrative charges following the introduction of the new NGO law last November, which requires any organisation involved in political activities and financed from abroad to register as a “foreign agent.”

That term, to most Russians, is synonymous with spying.

The government claimed the new NGO law was necessary to prevent the possibility of interference by foreign states in Russia’s internal affairs.

Golos Association claims it has not received foreign funding.

“I consider these charges groundless,” a Golos representative told the Moscow’s Presnensky Court Thursday.

“We believe there are no signs that Golos acts as a foreign agent. The group does not receive any funds from foreign countries.

“Moreover, the Justice Ministry has described in its protocol the actions of a different organization with the same name, the Golos Regional Public Association. This is the source of the mistake.”

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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