Statement by NSC Spokesman Tommy Vietor on Russian Government Harassment of Golos

Friday, December 2, 2011

Release Time: 

For Immediate Release

The Obama administration is concerned with today’s decision by a Moscow court regarding the election monitoring NGO Golos, as well as what appears to be a pattern of harassment directed against this organization. We have communicated our concerns to the Russian government in Moscow and to the Russian Embassy in Washington.

Golos is a well-known and well-regarded Russian independent election monitoring organization that has operated in Russia for over a decade. The data Golos publishes is from Russian observers and Russian citizens around the country. International and domestic observation is a normal part of the democratic process and allowing observers to conduct their work unfettered is critical to electoral transparency. As a participating State of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Russia has agreed that foreign and domestic election observers can enhance the electoral process.

We are proud of our support of Golos, which is intended to strengthen democratic institutions and processes – not influence elections – and we believe that citizens everywhere should have a right to report concerns about their electoral processes. The United States has supported and will continue to support those citizens and non-governmental organizations working for free and fair elections in Russia, as we do globally.

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