PRESS-RELEASE

02 марта 2008 г.

ELECTION AUTHORITIES ATTEMPT TO BLOCK “GOLOS” ELECTION DAY OBSERVATION EFFORTS

“Civic voice” correspondents deployed in polling places across Russian Federation (RF) are facing obstacles from local and regional authorities preventing them from exercising their legal right to conduct election observation. Nine of ten “GOLOS” correspondents reported some form of local pressure restricting their abilities to conduct election monitoring, such as restriction of movement within polling stations, physical removal from the polling station and police detention.

Below are the specific examples of the authorities’ efforts to hamper election observation efforts in Astrakhan, St. Petersburg and Ufa.

• In Astrakhan all «Civic voice» correspondents were denied access to polling stations, despite the fact that they had all necessary documents. Correspondents were told by precinct election commissioners there had been a direct order from the regional election commission not to allow “Civic voice” correspondents to monitor elections. “GOLOS” has filed an official complaint with the Prosecutor’s office, who refused to intervene to counteract the election commissions’ order to block “GOLOS” election monitoring activities in the city. “GOLOS” intends to file a complaint with the RF Central Election Commission.

• In Ufa numerous correspondents were denied access to polling stations across the city by precinct commissions. At least one correspondent was detained by police and later released without charges.

• In St. Petersburg over 20 “Civic voice” correspondents were refused access to polling stations across the city. At least two were detained at local police stations. The detained correspondents were later released without charges or explanation regarding their detention. “GOLOS” filed an official complaint with the St. Petersburg Central Election Commission.

On the Election Day of the Presidential elections “GOLOS” Association has deployed over 1500 stationary and mobile observers in 36 regions across the country. As for the free federal hot-line ran by “GOLOS”, over 800 calls about violations have been received by the operators since March 1, 2008.

Contact information:

Tatiana Bohdanova, Tatiana@golos.org

Marina Dashenkova, Press@golos.org

+7 (495) 917 90 91, + 7 (919) 762 98 61

“GOLOS” (www.golos.org) is an independent Russian civic organization founded in 2000 to defend voters’ rights and contribute to the development of the civic society in Russia. “GOLOS” has a largest and most geographically widespread election monitoring network in the country (it unites 281 NGO and has offices in 40 regions). “GOLOS” has monitored more than 50 elections (from municipal to regional), including 2 federal campaigns, and trained over 15 000 independent observers all over the country. “GOLOS” issues statements covering the results of its election observation, including messages from its hot-line “Transparent Elections” (http://88003333350.ru), and gives its assessment to the various stages of the electoral process in Russia using international standards of Free and Fair elections and Russian Election Law.