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Ministry of Justice to ask for Golos to be closed down

15 May 2013 

Source: (info, citing RIA Novosti, has reported that the Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, Aleksandr Konovalov, stated that his department will seek a court order to close down the Golos Voters’ Association if the latter does not register as a ‘foreign agent.’ Konovalov said that the fact that the organization has already been fined for failure to comply with the law confirms that the Ministry’s complaint is well-founded. 

On 25 April Golos was fined 300,000 roubles for failing to register as a ‘foreign agent.’ Liliya Shibanova was fined a further 100,000 roubles as head of the organization. 

The Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecutor’s Office insist that Golos is engaged in political activity, and also receives funding from abroad. The funding to which the official bodies refer is the Andrei Sakharov prize awarded to Golos, although Golos asserts that it refused to accept the monetary part of the award. 

Golos monitors violations during election campaigns and on voting days. A branch of the organization – 'Regional NGO Golos for Protection of Democratic Rights and Freedoms' - is also being prosecuted for failing to register as a ‘foreign agent.’ 

According to the law on NGOs all non-profit organizations that receive foreign funding and are engaged in political activities are obliged to call themselves ‘foreign agents.’ Russia’s largest NGOs have spoken out against the law, and point to the vagueness of the language it uses.