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Golos Loses Moscow Office

Source: HRO.org (info), 25/01/12

· Electoral rights  · Moscow city & Moscow region

On 24 January Liliya Shabanova, executive director of Golos, an independent election monitor, said that her staff had been forced to leave their offices in Khokhlovsky Pereulok in the centre of Moscow because the electricity supply had been disconnected.

She said that a letter from the landlord, Literary Gazette Publishing House, had been received back last December informing them that the rent for the office would be increased, IRN.ru reports. At that time Golos’ management succeeded in reaching an agreement with the landlord. However, on 16 January Golos received a letter informing them that the rental contract had been annulled and demanding that the organization leave the premises by 1 February 2012. In response to a request to defer the departure until they had found another office, a third letter arrived telling them that there would be problems with the electricity supply from 25 January until 6 March because of a major renovation of the building, FederalPress reports.

Liliya Shibanova is convinced that this is yet another attempt to hinder the work of Golos on the eve of the presidential elections, BBC Russian.com reports. A pretext of this kind to force them to leave their offices, she added, had been invented in the absence of other legal means. The rental agreement for the office expires only in August and cannot be simply annulled by one of the parties.

On Wednesday 25 January Golos started up a new website, “Map of Electoral Violations 2012”, to which violations of the law regulating electoral campaigns and elections can be reported, according to Interfax.

Golos says that users of this website will themselves create the site content. The organizers of the project are only responsible for initial moderation and technical support.

Those wishing to make an official complaint about a violation, whether electronically or by paper, will find on the website practical advice about what to do. Moreover, visitors to the website will be informed about the official reactions to the complaints.

Polit.ru points out that, together with the website, on 25 January a free hotline began operation (8 800 33-333-50; and for texts: 8 925 00 333-33-50) over which, along with the complaint form on the website and a mobile phone app, information about violations can be received.
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Rights in Russia,
27 Jan 2012, 06:59
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