MOSCOW — Russia’s Justice Ministry on Wednesday suspended a prominent independent election monitoring organization for its refusal to register as a foreign agent as required by the Kremlin.
The monitoring agency, Golos, and thousands of other nongovernment organizations oppose the law requiring groups that receive foreign funding to register as foreign agents, saying it would make them seem like spies.
Golos, which received a six-month suspension, was among the organizations that reported voting irregularities in a parliamentary election in December 2011 and in a presidential election in March 2012. After Vladimir Putin was elected to a third term as Russian president, new government rules included the designation for some organizations as foreign agents.
Grigory Melkonyants, deputy chief of Golos, said he was not surprised by the suspension given that the organization had already been fined this year and that authorities had been meticulously scrutinizing its activities.